Toni Morrison: The Emancipation Proclamation of the English Language

deadline for submissions: 
October 4, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

In the documentary, The Pieces I Am by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, David Carrasco calls Toni Morrison, “the Emancipation Proclamation of the English language.” The parallelism he conjures between the historical document and grandeur that is Morrison hints at the idea that she could do what Abraham Lincoln’s indenture could not: Toni Morrison frees black people from fake identities. Laced with the assurance that if others knew what she knows,—that prejudice exists in a hyperreality created by those who need it in order to define their purpose—black people will not accept perceived realities as their own; that their lives have meaning, and their stories can take center stage. For over forty years, she has anchored her voice in stripping away the layers of otherness to amplify the bruises, tears, joy, birth, death, family, sex, music, color, love, and friendship that makes their lives beautiful.

In celebration of what she did and whom she did it for, I invite you to submit a 250-300 word abstract on the works (fiction and non-fiction, film) of Toni Morrison alongside a short bio by October 4, 2019 through the NeMLA submission page:

Applicants are not required to be NeMLA members at the time of submission but accepted speakers will have to become members by December 9th, 2019.

For further information, please contact K. Isabella Coker ( or consult


“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” - Toni Morrison