In the 2010s, the publishing industry finally wrestled with its problems with diversity.
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who also attended the ceremony, said the iconic novelist taught him the meaning of "grown folks literature."
The former president said on Facebook that "you can't go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison."
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders spoke to HuffPost in June about his film that pays homage to the prolific author, "Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am."
The acclaimed novelist dedicated her career to writing about the complexities of Black life and won both the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize.
The legendary author, who died Monday, has long been addressing racism and distilling sometimes uncomfortable truths.
"Our relationship was grounded in that editing relationship, which became a friendship as well," the civil rights icon said about the late novelist in June.
The author, who died Monday at age 88, knew language isn’t limitless. But she wrote like it was.
The late American novelist shared career lessons that we can all learn from.
“You can’t understand how powerfully racist that question is, can you?” the legendary author asked journalist Jana Wendt.