Former President Barack Obama has shared a touching tribute to Toni Morrison.
Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, stating that he hoped to let that year’s honorees “know how extraordinary their impact has been on our lives.”
Following the news of Morrison’s passing, Obama shared a personal message in her honor on Instagram.
“Time is no match for Toni Morrison,” he wrote. “In her writing, she sometimes toyed with it, warping and creasing it, bending it to her masterful will. In her life’s story, too, she treated time nontraditionally. A child of the Great Migration who’d lifted up new, more diverse voices in American literature as an editor, Toni’s first novel wasn’t published until she was 39 years old. From there followed an ascendant career—a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and so much more—and with it, a fusion of the African American story within the American story.”
“Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful—a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories—that our stories—will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time.”
The writer’s family has asked for privacy, but confirmed plans to announce a celebration of Morrison “in the near future.”