Starting the week with a reminiscence.

Happy Monday network, here in the UK, October is the month dedicated to black history or Afro-American history month. So TV is broadcasting movies and documentaries on the subject. One evening I found one about Toni Morrison. Being an Anglo-American language and literature ex-student, I couldn’t avoid to watch it.

Toni is considered an institution in Anglo-American literature, for those who don’t know her she was a novelist, essayist, book editor, and teacher. She gave voice to Afro-American authors and co-edited the first Afro-American history book: “The Black Book” published in 1974.

It is a collection-book which explores about 300 years of the history and experience of African-Americans in the United States through various historical documents. It was an answer to the common bias that set or represented the Afro-Americans as a community without history.

“A book no American — black or white — can afford to ignore.” — Dr. Cornel

“There is not a member of the human family on earth who cannot learn from it.” — Gloria Steinem

“The ultimate treasure chest of the Black Experience.” — Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University

AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT OF AMERICAN HISTORY that defines a people’s strength, hope, and perseverance.” — Gay Talese

Even if Toni wrote mainly about black women, she didn’t consider herself feminist.

When asked in a 1998 interview …

Why distance oneself from feminism?” she replied: “In order to be as free as I possibly can, in my own imagination, I can’t take positions that are closed. Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it, to open doors, sometimes, not even closing the book — leaving the endings open for reinterpretation, revisitation, a little ambiguity.” She went on to state that she thought it “off-putting to some readers, who may feel that I’m involved in writing some kind of feminist tract. I don’t subscribe to patriarchy, and I don’t think it should be substituted with matriarchy. I think it’s a question of equitable access, and opening doors to all sorts of things. source

She also made a distinction between white and black feminism.

In 2012, she responded to a question about the difference between black and white feminists in the 1970s. “Womanists is what black feminists used to call themselves,” she explained. “They were not the same thing. And also the relationship with men. Historically, black women have always sheltered their men because they were out there, and they were the ones that were most likely to be killed.”source

I would like to dedicate these few words to everyone that can identify or simply get inspired by a woman like Toni 365 days a year and not only in one month.

… and leaving you with a true story.

Toni first novel was “The bluest eyes” the history of a young girl that was thinking that having only one “white” feature would make the difference. I am sure everyone met a Pecola at least once in our life, mine had a hidden blackness so only her true friends knew it. I have asked myself what could be my life; how hard it would be to fight for your dual identity, where both of your communities/culture rejects you because your features doesn’t corresponds to the “standards”. This article is to praise her and her strength to never give up her mixed identity.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

webdeveloper, coach and workshop organizer @codebar student @futureproof