What Toni Morrison told me

I met Toni Morrison, the Nobel prize winner who passed away a few days go, when I was on a committee of the Unitarian-Universalist Association to choose the winner of The Melcher Book Award in 1988.

The award is given by the UUA to the book that most contributes to “religious liberalism.” It is more often given to the book that the people on the committee find the most moving and  significant –  that year was the first time it was given to a novel – Morrison’s Beloved.

I had a chance to speak with her at a party before the award presentation and I will never forget something she said. We were talking of the many statues of soldiers of assorted wars and when we spoke of the statues of generals of the Civil War she said

There is no statue of a slave, or anything commemorating those who were enslaved –  not even a bench on the Mississippi river.

The words were seared in my mind.

 

4 Responses to What Toni Morrison told me

  1. Peggy Payne August 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm #

    First time I ever talked with you, Dan, was back then when you called to see if my short story “The Pure in Heart” had turned into a novel that would be eligible for the Melcher Prize. I didn’t know you at all. When I picked up the phone, you said, “I know it’s late (at night) to call, but I know if it’s about your novel, that doesn’t matter.” Still glad I got that call.

  2. Peggy August 8, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    Now there is a museum somewhere- a moving experience, I hear-

  3. David Amram August 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm #

    Thank you Dan for this mind-heart-eye opener:
    ,
    Toni’s comment that you documented for us to share with others says it all!!

    Like yourself, she was able to make us think, feel and see what surrounds us and leave the space for us to try to understand the world we live in and become aware of how we are all connected!

    Her writings will remain relevant and so will yours!

    Hugs always

    David Amram

  4. Dan Wakefield August 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm #

    I am so glad I encouraged a terrific novel that Should have won he Melcher Prize and many other prizes – “Revelation”, by Peggy Payne

Leave a Reply

Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield