This article appeared in the February 22, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Toni Morrison and the Monitor: Seeking and finding humanity

Julio Cortez/AP/File
Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison smiles after delivering a speech during the Rutgers commencement ceremony, in Piscataway, New Jersey, May 15, 2011. In a 2019 documentary released before her death, Morrison discussed the importance of “interest, curiosity, and human connection.”
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

This year, instead of featuring a slew of pieces celebrating Black people and their accomplishments during February, which is Black History Month in the United States, the Monitor redoubled its commitment to making Black perspectives a regular part of our coverage throughout the year – and not only for Black Americans but for all people of color in the U.S. and beyond.  

That approach seemed truest to the guidance Mary Baker Eddy gave when she founded the Monitor in 1908, writing in its first editorial, “The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” 

Striving to bless all mankind is, after all, a daily endeavor, not a monthlong one. It’s a state of being, really, a heart seeking – and finding – others’ humanity.

I found a description of this in the 2019 documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” which debuted seven months before the Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist died.

Morrison describes her experience at an art fair in Vienna. Standing in a dark room with her hand touching a special mirror, she sees a woman approaching on the other side of it who puts her hand up and touches Morrison’s. 

“Neither one of us said a word,” Morrison explains. “Just interest, curiosity, and human connection.” 

She continues, “That experience says more and much about what I think I’m doing when I write. I know I’m not you. I know I don’t know you. But I know this,” she says, holding up her hand as if touching another’s. 

We hope you find in our pages opportunities year-round to touch hands with a wide range of people, to find in their perspectives “interest, curiosity, and human connection.”

This article appeared in the February 22, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 02/22 edition
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