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On Monday (August 5) we lost another legend: Nobel Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison died in Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She was 88.

A rep from the publishing company Knopf confirmed her death saying that the “Song of Solomon” author passed after suffering from a “short illness,” but died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones,” Vulture reported.

Born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Morrison was 40-years-old when she published her first novel, “The Bluest Eye.” From there, her career skyrocketed, writing nearly two-dozen books (fiction and nonfiction) including her post-slavery ghost drama “Beloved,” which made her the first African-American to win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. That, and it was turned into a movie by Oprah Winfrey and Jonathan Demme in 1998.

Some of her other noted novels included “Tar Baby,” “Sula,” Love and “Paradise.”

So to celebrate Morrison’s beautiful life, here some of the literary legend’s most empowering quotes:

12 Of Toni Morrison’s Most Empowering Quotes To Live By  was originally published on

1. Toni Morrison

“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem, and they should start thinking about what they can do about it.”

2. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“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.”

3. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“You wanna fly? You got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

4. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

5. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“I see your life as artful, waiting just waiting and ready for you to make it art.”

6. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“Freedom is choosing your responsibility. It’s not having no responsibilities; it’s choosing the ones you want.”

7. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

8. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”

9. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

10. Toni Morrison

“[S]omebody said, ‘What advice would you give to young writers?’ and I said, ‘Start at 40.’”

11. Toni Morrison

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”

12. Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Source:Getty

“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”