August 6, 2019

Statement On The Death Of Toni Morrison

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Toni Morrison, one of our country’s greatest authors, storytellers, and visionaries. Over a writing career that spanned nearly five decades—and a career as a scholar and teacher that spanned even longer—Toni gave a profound and transcendent voice to our nation’s African-American experience which had long been silenced, deeply touching our common humanity and capturing the imagination of readers worldwide.

As a fellow Ohio native, I know of the excitement I felt when a new work of hers hit the bookshelves, and the untold hours I spent lost in the eloquent beauty and complex and vivid truths of her stories and characters, from Pecola, to Milkman, Denver, and countless others. Like many of her characters, Toni’s own story is one of perseverance, self-discovery, and ultimately triumph. Though her career saw her reach the pinnacle of professional success and public adulation, Toni never lost sight of who she was or her mission to speak to an essential part of the American story.

As painful as her loss is, I take personal comfort knowing her work will continue to live on as new generations of readers rediscover new meaning and purpose in her writing, her insight, and her grace. Both my and Amy’s thoughts are with Toni’s incredible family and legions of fans during this difficult time.”