AAPB Honors Toni Morrison Through Public Broadcasting

Earlier this month on August 5th, 2019 renowned American novelist Toni Morrison died in New York. Toni Morrison left a long and impactful legacy of books that examined the black experience in the United States. She helped shape a path for incoming African American storytellers, and she expanded on African American literature. She has been awarded multiple honors for her work including the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom among many more accolades.

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is privileged to have retained interviews of Toni Morrison in its collection. In these interviews the viewer can enjoy Toni Morrison’s soft-spoken eloquence and mastery of the English language. The time line of these interviews ranges from 1987-2012.

1987

Toni Morrison discusses her newest novel Beloved from The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour

In this interview, Toni Morrison discusses the inspiration behind her novel Beloved. She reads a passage from her novel and discusses the morality behind Margaret Garner’s actions. The famous author also discusses her creative decisions in the symbolism it plays into Beloved. She also discusses her career, and what she foresees for the future of literature.

Direct link: https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-p55db7wh7z

1993

Toni Morrison wins the 1993 Novel Prize for Literature from The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour

In this program, Jim Lehrer reports that Toni Morrison has won the Novel Prize for literature. Additionally, he points out that Toni Morrison was the first African American to win this prize.

Direct Link: https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-8911n7z91d

1998

Toni Morrison discusses her newest novel Paradise from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Toni Morrison discusses her novel, Paradise, and the inspirations that helped her write it. She explains her knowledge of African American history that aided in her writing. Furthermore, she is asked about her writing process and style.

Direct Link: https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-d50ft8f679

2005

Toni Morrison on her opera of Margaret Garner from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

In this program, an opera about Margaret Garner’s story is being reported on- which Toni Morrison helped to produce. Toni Morrison discusses how writing an opera is so much different than writing a novel. She discusses the meaning that opera adds to the story, and the talent of the African American artists that are part of it.

Direct link: https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-bz6154fc72

2012

Toni Morrison receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Toni Morrison was among other influential people who were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. She is shown at the ceremony as she is described by the former president. Toni Morrison is also interviewed about her novel Home and how it is different from her prior works.

Direct Link: https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_525-bn9x05z96f

Toni Morrison was a great novelist that helped expand the narratives of African Americans. She recorded the different experiences of African Americans throughout different time periods. Searching for Toni Morrison in the American Archives of Public Broadcasting was fascinating because of the amount of times she is mentioned. She serves as an inspiration to many writers, critics, and readers and is used as an example of excellent literature. She left a legacy of many great works that include novels, plays, non-fiction books, and essays just to name a few.

By Veronica Mendez AAPB Social Media and Engagement Intern, Summer 2019

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