Toni Morrison Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Posted on May 29, 2012

Photo of Toni Morrison with President Barack Obama in the Blue Room at the White House

In this photo, President Barack Obama chats with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Toni Morrison in the Blue Room of the White House. Thirteen Americans received the prestigious award, which is the highest honor awarded to civilians in the United States. President John F. Kennedy established the honor in 1963. It is presented to those who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

The White House described Morrison's contributions:

One of our nation's most celebrated novelists, Morrison is renowned for works such as Song of Solomon, Jazz, and Beloved, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. When she became the first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1993, Morrison's citation captured her as an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." She created the Princeton Atelier at Princeton University to convene artists and students. Morrison continues to write today.
You can see the full list of honorees, which includes Bob Dylan and Madeleine Albright, here.

Photo: Pete Souza/White House


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