Tag: toni morrison

Memorials to the Victims of the Middle Passage

In several interviews after the publication of her 1987 novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison laments the lack of awareness and homage to the victims of the Middle Passage. What is the Middle Passage? Brittanica defines the Middle Passage, as “the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. It was one leg of the triangular trade route that took goods (such as knives, guns, ammunition, cotton cloth, tools, and brass dishes) from Europe to Africa, Africans to work as slaves in the Americas and West Indies, and items, mostly raw materials, produced on the plantations (sugar, rice, tobacco, indigo, rum, and cotton) back to Europe. From about 1518 to the...

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Slavery and the Haunting that Persists.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a novel about the enslavement of Black Americans and its lasting emotional, physical and psychic effects. It takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio right before and after the Civil War. Beloved is the story of Sethe, a woman so strong, she survives the unthinkable, over and over and over again. Beloved is the name of the angry baby girl haunting the home of her younger sister, Denver, and Sethe, the mother who murdered her. The ghost, in her eighteen-month-old, non-physical form has driven everyone else out of the house, including Sethe’s two sons whom she tried...

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Toni Cade Bambara: How to Care for Oneself While Healing The All

While reading adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism for #NastyWomenWriters, I was stopped in my tracks by the praise coming forward in that book for black feminist, writer, activist, film maker and mentor Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995). brown writes: “Toni Cade Bambara, author of The Salt Eaters, the one to tell us writing was a tool for the revolution, that our task was to make revolution irresistible. Bambara is a main stream in the lineage of pleasure activism, not just because of what she put on the page and into words, but also because of the ways she wove community,...

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A Re-Declaration Of Independence That Includes Everyone This Time

I guess it is true that humans often resist change. Hold on to tired old things that are no longer working. I guess we all feel this within ourselves when we need to change and we cannot make ourselves do it because things are comfortable enough as is or we are “attached.” I guess that could be what is going on with white people in the United States around the most recent request for change from the black community. I guess even having the option to resist change is a form of privilege. If it ain’t broke…well guess what?...

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Toni Morrison’s Sula: Available to and for her own imagination—a rare kind of freedom.

Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) has long been one of my favorite books. Besides simply wanting to immerse myself back into the mastery of Morrison’s writing, I repeatedly return to Sula to contemplate the friendship between Nel and Sula, the issue of betrayal that unfolds within the novel’s plot, and to feel Nel’s grief and long and lasting cry in my own throat and chest in the last lines of the book; the ones that finally set her free: “‘We was girls together…Oh, Lord, Sula,’ she cried, ‘girl, girl, girlgirlgirl,              It was a fine...

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