30 Toni Morrison Quotes That'll Comfort Your Aching Heart

A black and white portrait of author Toni Morrison posing with her chin resting on both of her hands
via Instagram: @tonimorrisonfilm

We'll miss you, Toni Morrison!

Long Live These 30 Powerful Toni Morrison Quotes

From Beloved to Song of the Solomon, Toni Morrison's work inspired a generation of young writers.

Her ability to take you on an intense yet soft journey throughout her works was unparalleled. She had a way with words that no one else had. As the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, her work speaks for itself.

With her recent passing, we've been reminded of the incredible words she's written in her lifetime. While we'll never forget her or her work, which is why we wanted to bring up some of her most powerful quotes.

May we all never forget these inspiring Toni Morrison quotes!

Best Toni Morrison Quotes

  • "Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."

  • "And I am all the things I have ever loved: scuppernong wine, cool baptisms in silent water, dream books, and number playing."

  • "If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down."

  • "If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

  • "Your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art."

  • "Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do."

  • "It's a bad word, 'belong,' especially when you put it with somebody you love; you can't own a human being."

  • "Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it."

  • "My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer, it just got bigger."

  • "It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you."

Powerful Toni Morrison Quotes

  • "I dream a dream that dreams back at me."

  • "Make up a story. For our sake and yours, forget your name in the street. Tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul."

  • "All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was."

  • "At some point in life, the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough."

  • "Somebody has to take responsibility for being a leader."

  • "What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them."

  • "If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it."

  • "Can't nothing heal without pain, you know."

  • "Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. And awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging."

  • "You are your best thing."

Inspiring Toni Morrison Quotes

  • "Oppressive language does more than represent violence, it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge, it limits knowledge."

  • "Writing is really a way of thinking—not just feeling, but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic, or just sweet."

  • "As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think."

  • "Lonely was much better than alone."

  • "The plot you chose may change or even elude you, but being your own story means you can control the theme. It also means you can invent the language to say who you are and how you mean in this world."

  • "Passion is never enough. Neither is skill."

  • "What's the world for if you can't make it up the way you want?"

  • "For me, art is the restoration of order. It may discuss all sorts of terrible things, but there must be satisfaction at the end. A little bit of hunger, but also satisfaction."

  • "To get to a place where you could love anything you chose—not to need permission for desire—well now, that was freedom."

  • "Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause, it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us, it is also about me and you. Just the two of us."

We Want to Hear From You

Which Toni Morrison quote do you think best sums up her legacy?

Tweet us @womendotcom or message us on Facebook to tell us!