Toni Morrison photographed in her office at Random House by Jill Krementz on February 13, 1974.
To say Toni Morrison was iconic is understatement. The Pulitzer Prize-winner and Poet Laureate died, at 88, taking with her a signature voice in American literature. Poignant, blistering and ultimately illuminating, she wrote about what it means to be a black American, especially children and women. Through her characters, like Tar Baby’s Jadine and The Bluest Eyes’ Pecola, she told it like it is — not always comfortable for the general public, but always necessary. Oprah Winfrey, a friend who adapted and starred in Morrison’s novel Beloved on the big screen, said it best, “She is our conscience, she is our seer, she is our truth-teller.”

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