This Day in Black History: March 31, 1988

Novelist Toni Morrison wins a Pulitzer Prize for Beloved.

Posted: 03/31/2013 08:30 AM EDT

Acclaimed author Toni Morrison was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on March 31, 1988, for her novel Beloved, a heartbreaking tale of a former slave.

Earlier that year, 48 Black writers, including Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, John Edgar Wideman, John A. Williams and Henry Louis Gates Jr., wrote an open letter to The New York Times Book Review protesting the fact that Morrison had never won a National Book Award or a Pulitzer. This concerned her when thinking about winning the latter for Beloved, The New York Times reported.

''I think I know what I feel. It's true that I had no doubt about the value of the book and that it was really worth serious recognition," she told the publication. "But I had some dark thoughts about whether the book's merits would be allowed to be the only consideration of the Pulitzer committee. The book had begun to take on a responsibility, an extra-literary responsibility, that it was never designed for.''

In 1993, Morrison, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality," states the award citation, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. 

Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Beyoncé, Snoop DoggR. Kelly, Erykah BaduKendrick Lamar and many more. Go here for more details and info on how to buy tickets.

(Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Videos You May Like

From Our Partners