Toni Morrison; Front Porch Art Center hosted Feb. 18 Birthday party in honor of late Nobel laureate
A dozen black women from various Chicago neighborhoods gathered Feb. 18 on the West Side to celebrate a literary foremother whose books have articulated many people’s feelings and experiences. Toni Morrison died Aug. 5, 2019, at age 88. She was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Front Porch Art Center, the organization founded by Keli Stewart, invited people to a party on Feb. 18, Morrison’s birthday, to read quotations from the author’s work while enjoying cake and cupcakes provided by Brown Sugar Bakery, which has a presence in Austin.
“We see the front porch as a place where we gather,” Stewart said. “They say the West Side is hood, but I say we are really country. I think our stories are preserving some important stuff. Toni Morrison’s stories make up for the absence of stories about what happened in Mississippi before our parents came here.”
Shani Smith, a South Side community activist, reinforced Stewart’s point.
“My grandfather had to escape from a plantation,” she said. “So I say I’m just the second generation out of slavery.”