It’s often said that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”. (The quote is generally attributed to Madeleine Albright who trots out the saying on a regular basis. Who knows if she said it first – she said it most famously.)

If there is a special place in hell, it stands to reason that there is also a special place in heaven for those women who do. And I hope Toni Morrison is there.


Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. A wife, mother, then single mother, teacher and writer, in the 60s she worked in New York as an editor for Random House and eventually became the only African American women to be a senior editor with the company. While in this position, she helped publish books by other African American women, including Toni Cade Bambara, Gayl Jones and June Jordan. She helped give other women their voices.

She did the same in her own writing, populating her books with precious prose that came closest to poetry. She led with women and gave them voices, unique, strong, stick-in-your-brain voices. I remember riding the train to work one day in the late 80s and noticing that everyone in the car had their heads buried in Beloved, her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

We lost Ms. Morrison this week. Thank you for sharing your gift with us all.

— Bobbie and the Innovation Women team

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