The day I interviewed Toni Morrison (for what would be the first time) I was writing an article for Essence Magazine about the rise of the Black feminist movement.
We met in a French restaurant a few blocks from the publishing company where she was an editor. It was 1973 and Morrison was already a literary star and power in the publishing industry. During the interview what struck me even more than the precision of her answers was her self-possession and confidence. Toni Morrison knew who she was, and what she believed and was in full possession of herself as a Black woman who had gifts that the world needed.
I was twenty-three years old, a freelance journalist, and was having lunch with a woman who I admired and who was doing things in the world that I only dreamed of. In sixty minutes Toni Morrison modeled what it means to walk in, to define and own your space and your place. She modeled not just dreaming but creating a world.
What “famous” person deeply affected you when you met them?
Marita Golden is the author of 19 works of fiction and nonfiction. She is Co-founder and President Emerita of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation. As a teacher of writing, she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Distinguished Visiting Writer in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University, and at the University of the District of Columbia. She has taught writing workshops nationally and internationally to a variety of constituencies and is a writing coach, workshop presenter, and literary consultant.