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Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Lauds Princeton University’s Commitment to Change

Nobel Laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Toni Morrison gave a keynote address for “The Princeton & Slavery Project” in the University’s Richardson Auditorium on Friday, titled, “’Race,’ Imagination, and the Birthpains of Justice.”

“They’re going to rename a building with my name,” Morrison said, beginning her remarks by referring to the university’s decision to rename “West College” in her honor, partially as a response to the protests over the campus’s iconography of Woodrow Wilson. “Beyond my fantasies, though, this commitment to change is profound, and it requires our attention to the subject we are here to discuss: Princeton and slavery,” Morrison continued. “The history of Princeton’s involvement in slavery, both its support of the laws of that institution and its abandonment of that culture, is a very long and complicated one.”

As a novelist and a critic, Morrison has been a leading thinker of America’s troubled racial history. Critics have long praised Morrison, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award, among many other distinctions, for her imaginative work on the experience of slavery and its lasting effects. Her most recent book, "The Origin of Others" (Harvard University Press, 2017), further explores issues of race and identity, drawing from her lecture series to focus on the question: “What motivates the human tendency to construct others?”

Read more at CentralJersey.com.

Did You Know...?Princeton professors owned slaves as late as 1840. Read More