Event Recaps | 29 October 2014

Toni Morrison – The Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture


On October 25th, 2014, Toni Morrison gave the 2014 Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture entitled, “Literature and the Silence of Goodness.” Morrison was also awarded the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal at the 2014 Founders Celebration at the Coconut Grove for her powerful writing and expressive depictions of Black America, giving life to an essential aspect of American reality.

Toni Morrison was a novelist, editor, and professor, best known for her novels Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon. She studied humanities at Howard and Cornell Universities, followed by an academic career at Texas Southern University, Howard University, Yale, and Princeton. She made her debut as a novelist in 1970, soon gaining the attention of both critics and a wider audience for her epic power, unerring ear for dialogue, and poetically-charged and richly-expressive depictions of Black America. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Beloved, the Nobel Prize in 1993, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

After the event, UC Santa Cruz Review writer Dan White also had separate in-depth conversations with Toni Morrison and Angela Davis about their past collaboration, their longstanding friendship, and their bedrock belief in the power of literature. Davis introduced Morrison while she was in Santa Cruz to deliver the Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture at the Rio Theater on October 25. The subject: “Literature and the Silence of Goodness.” Angela Davis was interviewed by phone from Massachusetts, and Toni Morrison from upstate New York.

You can also stay engaged by watching our video of the event below.

The Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture Series is a lively forum for the discussion and exploration of ethics-related challenges in human endeavors. The Ethics Lecture is made possible by the Peggy Downes Baskin Humanities Endowment for Interdisciplinary Ethics which enables the Humanities Division to promote a dialogue about ethics and ethics related challenges in an interdisciplinary setting. The endowment was established in honor of Peggy Downes Baskin’s longtime interest in ethical issues across the academic spectrum.