Toni Morrison: Our Pick for Brown U. Lecture Board


Imagine sitting in the same room as Toni Morrison and being able to ask her a question, face to face.

Unlike many other speaker series on campus, the Brown Lecture Board opens the floor to the entire student body (rather than niche enclaves) to vote on a speaker. This is one of the few opportunities for Brown students to decide whose pockets get filled with University money.

by David Levine for the New York Review of Books (November 19, 1992)
by David Levine for the New York Review of Books (November 19, 1992)

After an overall success this year for Brown Lecture Board (3 events and the first-ever speaker panel), we’re back to the polls again. Other than RJ Mitte’s ending remarks about wishing for a “color-blind world,” we sat at this spring’s panel soaking up the radiance of Laverne Cox without too many cringe-worthy moments.

Perhaps this vote would be up for debate if the decision were between Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, and the ghost of Frida Kahlo. But this year, Brown Lecture Board has given us the simple choice between Mindy Kaling, Toni Morrison, Kevin Spacey, Jane Goodall, and Sir Ian Murray McKellen.

But really, imagine breathing the same air as Toni Morrison.


Official Bluestockings Ballot for Brown Lecture Board Fall 2014:

1: Toni Morrison has received both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She wrote Beloved as mother of two children while teaching at Howard University. Her novels are notable for richly developed black characters, particularly compelling narratives of black women. She was the first black woman writer to hold a named chair at an Ivy League institution.

2: Jane Goodall reinforces #feminismisforwhitewomen and believes that a woman’s main role should be to bear children (which is actually something she was trying to prove with her chimpanzee research). However, she is valuable to messages about women in science and her recent partnership with Vandana Shiva looks promising.

3: While we have love for Mindy Kaling‘s self-depricating humor (see last year’s Blog Daily Herald pick), her show is hella problematic in the ways it upholds values of white supremacy.

4:  “You shall not pass!” Why bring Sir Ian Murray McKellen all the way across the pond just to hear him say that line? We could ask him about his activism, but half the audience won’t bother to read that he was a LGBT activist from the 90s. Or we could just rewatch LOTR on Netflix without him.

5: Kevin $pacey.


If you’re still not entirely clear on why we’d pick Toni over an influential female primatolologist, a WOC in comedy, Gandalf, and a House of Cards star, we kindly ask you to do some soul-searching.


By Chanelle Adams, Co-Editor in Chief

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