Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

The Quotable Black Scholar: Toni Morrison on Life Under Jim Crow

July 20th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance

Toni Morrison is ranked #1 on the list of most cited Black scholars in the humanities and #10 on the list of most cited Black scholars in the social sciences.


Toni Morrison (b. 1931)



Sitting apart on a bus or not being served through the front window of a take-out restaurant was humiliating, but nothing was more painful than being refused a decent education.

–Toni Morrison, from “The Journey to School Integration” in The Virginia Quarterly Review (Winter 2004)


Biographical Notes: Toni Morrison was born in Lorraine, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University (1953) and an M.F.A. from Cornell University (1955). After completing her master’s, Morrison taught English at Texas Southern University and at Howard University.

After leaving academia in the mid-1960s, Morrison took a job in the publishing industry. She remained a part of this industry for 20 years, until the mid-1980s. During that period, she returned to academia, joining the faculty at Princeton University.  In 2006, Morrison announced that she was retiring from the faculty of Princeton.

In 1977, her third novel, Son of Solomon, won the National Book Critic’s Circle Award and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Morrison was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Council on the Arts. In 1988, her fifth novel, Beloved, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In 1993 Toni Morrison became the first Black woman in history to win the Noble Prize in Literature.

Between 1970 and 2008, Toni Morrison has published 9 novels and one book of literary and cultural criticism. They are:

  1. The Bluest Eye, 1970
  2. Sula, 1973
  3. Song of Solomon, 1977
  4. Tar Baby, 1981
  5. Beloved, 1987
  6. Jazz, 1992
  7. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992
  8. Paradise, 1998
  9. Love, 2003
  10. A Mercy, 2008

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Academia, African Americans, Black Scholars, Higher Education

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