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Happy birthday, Toni Morrison

Today is Toni Morrison's 80th birthday. Born in Ohio, educated at Howard University and Cornell, Morrison's writing career started in earnest with her debut novel "The Bluest Eye," published in 1970. Her other works include "Sula," "Song of Solomon," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Beloved," published in 1987.

In 1993, Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; no American writer since has received the honor. In her acceptance speech, Morrison spoke about the importance and power of language.

The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity-driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek -- it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language -- all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.

Morrison's most recent book is the 2008 novel "A Mercy," which was an LA Times bestseller. In our review, Judith Freeman wrote that the book is "a work of poetry and intelligence, and a continuation of what John Updike has called her 'noble and necessary fictional project of exposing the infamies of slavery and the hardships of being African American.'"

When Morrison was named the Nobel Laureate in Literature in October 1993, she said, "Winning as an American is very special, but winning as a black American is a knockout." Here's wishing her a knockout 80th birthday.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Toni Morrison in November 2010 at the ceremony where she was awarded the French Legion of Honor. Credit: Thibault Camus / Associated Press

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Happy 80th Birthday Toni Morrison. May you continue to live a genius' life and bestow upon the world more of your encouraging and beautiful words. God Bless

Happy Birthday Toni Morrison! Your words have meant so much to me.

Happy B'Day...oh inspiring One. I would not have been inspired to write my new book "Bounce Off The Walls - Land On Your Feet" in release on Amazon...if it were't for the great writers, like you, who paved the way. Blessings and Hugs,
Merrie Lynn

Happy 80th Birthday Ms. Toni Morrison. May you continue to live a wonderful life and bestow upon the world more of your knowledge and wisdom. I help my 4th grade great-niece do a bookreport on you a couple of weeks ago and I were so impression that I haven't stop talking about you. My daughter also went to Howard University. Shout out to HU. God Bless and may you have many more birthday.

Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison. Thank you for sharing your art with us. We are better for having visited the world & the people in your books.

Happy birthday Toni. Love you Toni. God bless you.


Toni Morrison is one of the most intelligent women I can think of. I don't like to imagine where I would be as a reader without her. When I read Jazz in 1993, she dug me up out of reading bestsellers of the Jackie Collins, John Grisham, Judith Krantz type and sent me on a search for modern literary fiction. I would go so far as to say that her influence improved the quality of certain bestsellers and continues to do so today.
I wish her a happy 80th birthday and am happy for her continued life, good health and good spirits. I hope she has a few more novels for us because I have loved everyone she has written so far.

Happy Birthday Toni Morrison! I hope that you had a lovely day and your
life has been a testament to so many people. Your books have touched so many lives and will be forever treasured. Thank you and God Bless.

happy birth day Toni Morrison i'm only 12 yrs old n im at school and I Jayme Notti was in school and our . Class is doing a Black History Month and all of us got difrent people and I was askin to get you and I was sooo happy i got to learn about your early yrs and adult yrs and your family and were where youy were born. well I have been soo busy going around school thati couldn't have time to do my research . But today I got to talk to my teacher and i'm sooo happy i did't get in troble in i found this website to say something to you .

God bless , Jaymee Notti,✞

Happy Birthday and May God continue to bless you.
Thank you for all of your wonderful books. Your
books have re-energized my life many times.

Happy Birthday Toni Morrison...a writer who takes you there


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