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NEW YORK (AP) – One of the giants in modern literature has died. Nobel Prize winning writer Toni Morrison, the author of works like “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon,” died Monday night at a hospital in New York City. She was 88. A statement from her family describes Morrison her as “the consummate writer who treasured the written word” – whether she wrote those words or not. Among her career highlights was her becoming the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993. And in 2012, Barack Obama awarded Morrison a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Obama took to Facebook to say Morrison’s writing offered “a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy.”


NEW YORK (AP) – Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who transformed modern literature, has died.
Highlights of reaction to her death:

“Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful – a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories – that our stories – will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time.” – former President Barack Obama, via Twitter.

“‘If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.’ Rest in paradise.” – Beyonce, on her website.

“‘If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it,’ Toni Morrison said. We are all so lucky to live in a world where she took her own advice and shared it with others.” – Hillary Clinton, via Twitter.

“The passing of Toni Morrison is a mandate to all others in the field to fulfill the high calling that her work and her life demonstrated. Her words, her wisdom, her undying love and commitment to her people are forever engraved in the pages of history, but her artistic, remarkable literary voice will be deeply missed.” – Rep. John Lewis, in a statement.

“Today, the world lost a storyteller of unmatched empathy, elegance and power. Toni Morrison’s belief that language is the ‘measure of our lives’ leaves an extraordinary, inspiring inheritance, and her beautiful writing will continue to be a blessing for generations to come.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, via Twitter.

“‘You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.’ Toni Morrison. I cannot imagine growing up in a world without her words. I pray you rest In Peace and in Power. We will celebrate you with endless gratitude and love. Always.” – Kerry Washington, via Twitter.

“Toni Morrison will be remembered as one of the greatest thinkers and storytellers in our history. She gave us all so much, and her work continues to give throughout time. Thank you, Toni Morrison.” – U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, via Twitter.

“I just assumed Ms. Morrison would live forever. And in so many ways in so many hearts and minds and spirits, she will.” – filmmaker Barry Jenkins, via Twitter.

“In the passing of Toni Morrison, we lost one of our greatest voices & storytellers. Holding close those touched by her being & her gift. Her work gave us power, hope & freedom. While our world shines a little less bright today, we know ‘something that is loved is never lost.'” – U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, via Twitter.

“‘If you look at the world as a brutal game, then you bump into the mystery of the tree-shaped scar. There seems to be such a thing as grace, such a thing as beauty, such a thing as harmony. All of which are wholly free and available to us.’ Your life was our gift, (hash)ToniMorrison.” – Ava DuVernay, via Twitter.

“Toni Morrison. While you have left the physical realm, the many treasures you left us will bear fruit for generations and generations. Your work has cascaded through my life deeply and simply…rest in power to a beloved icon.” – Tracee Ellis Ross, via Twitter.

“‘We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.’ Holding all those touched by Toni Morrison in my heart today.” – U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, via Twitter.

“Genius has moved on. She made me understand ‘writer’ was a fine profession. I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget. Rest, Queen.” – Shonda Rhimes, via Twitter.

“The world just lost an incredible soul. Rest in peace, Toni Morrison.” – U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, via Twitter.

“‘If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’ -Toni Morrison. Today we lost an American legend. May she rest in peace.” – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, via Twitter.

“Aw man Toni Morrison taught me the word Rememory. RIP to a incredibly powerful and impactful woman.” – Chance the Rapper, via Twitter.

“Her words were like mirrors to our collective souls. Like pillows to cushion the blows. Like mothers to wrap us in love. Like friends to hold our hands and see us through the darkness. (hash)RipToniMorrison (heart) you. May we lift her up in the light of goodness and hold her there.” – Gabrielle Union, via Twitter.

“(hash)ToniMorrison has died. Just when we most need to hear her voice, she is gone. Thank you for the insights, the stories, and the poetry of your thought that have enriched us all these many years. Lay your burden down.” – Bette Midler, via Twitter.



NEW YORK (AP) – Usually in times of tragedy in the U.S., people turn to the news media for a sense of shared experience – and a way to try to make sense of the senseless. But in the wake of the mass shootings over the weekend in Texas and Ohio, some are expressing concern about how TV and other media cover such tragedies. Some have become frustrated at what appears to be a rote response to mass shootings, with news crews flocking to the scene, reporting on law enforcement efforts, stories of victims and survivors and arranging for analysts to talk about issues like gun control and mental illness. Some say it’s time for the formula to change – like Columbia University professor Bill Grueskin. He says when it comes to covering such stories, “it’s time for journalists to take sides.”


CHICAGO (AP) – In R. Kelly’s case, the saying might be “more indictments, more troubles.” The R&B star is now facing sex charges in three states: New York, Illinois and Minnesota. Of concern to him and his legal team are federal sex charges filed in Chicago and New York City. Legal insiders say the charges with the feds increase the likelihood that Kelly will have to plead guilty to at least some of the offenses against him. As of now, the charges he faces carry a total combined maximum prison sentence of more than 500 years. Also working against Kelly is the efficiency of the feds when it comes to trying cases. Court records show federal prosecutors secure convictions more than 90% of the time, compared to about 65% for state prosecutors.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The scrutiny continues over the sweetheart deal given financier Jeffrey Epstein. The governor of Florida has asked state law enforcement officials to take over a criminal probe into how Epstein got such a light sentence after pleading guilty in 2008 to prostitution-related charges involving underage girls. The case has drawn recent attention because of Epstein’s ties with President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – It’s a chance to watch televised coverage of a presidential impeachment in the run-up to next year’s general election. But in this case, the impeachment won’t involve the current occupant of the White House – but one of his predecessors. FX says the next chapter of its “American Crime Story” series will deal with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The miniseries will air in September 2020. And former White House intern Monica Lewinski – whose sexual affair with Clinton led to his impeachment when he lied about it to Congress – serves as a producer of the series.


by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2

AP-WF-08-07-19 0744GMT