This Day in Black History: March 31, 1988

This Day in Black History: March 31, 1988

This Day in Black History: March 31, 1988

Novelist Toni Morrison wins a Pulitzer Prize for Beloved on March 31, 1988.

Published March 31, 2013

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.

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(Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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