Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate & Fierce Activist, Dies At 88 | 15 Powerful Quotes That Prove Her Words Will Live Forever

Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate & Fierce Activist, Dies At 88 | 15 Powerful Quotes That Prove Her Words Will Live Forever

“She is our conscience, she is our seer, she is our truth-teller,” said Oprah Winfrey, and her words are still packed with power no matter how many years pass after they were written.

Her words weren't meant for momentary comfort or for adding more color to the reader's imagination. Her words were necessary for change. Toni Morrison, seen as a national treasure by many, could stir up all the right emotions to inspire and to challenge. On August 5, 2019, she passed away at the age of 88, leaving behind a literary legacy of 11 novels, five children’s books, two plays, a song cycle, and an opera, according to Time.

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” the Morrison family said in a statement, according to Vox.


“She is our conscience, she is our seer, she is our truth-teller,” Oprah Winfrey aptly described her, according to The Associated Press. Toni Morrison was able to capture the stark realities in the country and stand up for people who needed a voice.

"What a force her thoughts have been and how grateful we must be that they were offered to us in this extremely challenging age," said novelist Alice Walker, according to The Guardian.

She was able to sink into the pain and vulnerabilities of her characters and soothe the reader about what they were going through. And for that, she earned herself a Pulitzer Prize and a Nobel Prize. In every role of hers, she shone brightly for her loved ones. "She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends..." the statement by the family said. "Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life."


Through her well-lived life, she's said powerful words in her books, in speeches, and in public appearances that have struck a chord with many. And here's some of them.

1. “Don't ever think I fell for you or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it.”

2. "Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."

3. "Look to yourself. You free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you."


4. "You don't have to love me but you damn well have to respect me."

5. "If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."

6. "He can't value you more than you value yourself."


7. "To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that was freedom."

8. "Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … You can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling – I don’t think it’s any of that – it’s helpless … it’s absence of control – I have no use for it whatsoever."

9. "You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured...You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn — by practice and careful contemplations — the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it."


10. "I think that our expectations of women are very low. If women just stand up straight for thirty days, everybody goes, Oh! How brave!"

11. "All of my life is doing something for somebody else. Whether I'm being a good daughter, a good mother, a good wife, a good lover, a good teacher -- and that's all that. The only thing I do for me is writing. That's really the real free place where I don't have to answer."

12. "Nagging. Poison. Gossip. Sneaking around instead of confrontation."


13. "Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do."

14. "We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."

15. "Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance."