In what turned out to be a who's who in academia, the literary community and the entertainment industry, the Toni Morrison Society, together with Alfred A. Knopf publishing company, hosted a 70th birthday tribute for Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.
Approximately 500 people attended the black-tie affair held at the New York Public Library last month to honor the author who has penned such novels as The Bluest Eye; Song of Solomon, which received the National Book Critics' Circle Award in 1977; and Beloved, for which Morrison received the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Currently Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.
Those offering tributes to Morrison that evening included Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Smith College; Oprah Winfrey; Sonny Mehta, president of Alfred A. Knopf, Morrison's publisher; Dr. Harold T. Shapiro, president of Princeton University; Dr. Eleanor Traylor, chair of the English department at Howard University who was a classmate of Morrison's when they were both Howard undergrads; and Dr. Carolyn C. Denard, founder of the Toni Morrison Society and associate professor of English at Georgia State University. Morrison also made remarks as well. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee concluded the dinner with a champagne toast.
"We felt that given her stature in American and African American arts and letters that 70 was a timely moment to honor her in an effective way," says Dr. …