Unfortunately, we do not have a record of Toni Morrison's keynote speech, which was delivered on her behalf by Elizabeth Alexander. Ms. Morrison was unable to attend the ceremony in person due to inclement weather.
Toni Morrison is recognized as one of the most influential writers in American literary history. Her eleven major novels — The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, Home and God Help the Child—have received extensive critical acclaim. She received the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Among her prestigious awards are the 2017 AAAS Emerson-Thoreau Medal, the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the 2000 National Humanities Medal, and the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Ms. Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of the Humanities, Emerita at Princeton University.
Photo (c) Timothy Greenfield-Sanders