Nobel laureate Toni Morrison dead at 88

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, a pioneer and reigning giant of modern literature whose imaginative power in “Beloved,” ”Song of Solomon” and other works transformed American letters by dramatizing the pursuit of freedom within the boundaries of race, has died at age 88.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that Morrison died Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Morrison’s family issued a statement through Knopf saying she died after a brief illness.

In Lost Essay, Langston Hughes Recounts Meeting A Young Chain Gang Runaway

In the short essay, Hughes recounts an experience he had outside Savannah, Ga., in which he encountered a young person escaping from a chain gang. It was the summer of 1927 and Hughes was traveling by car with his friend and fellow writer, Zora Neale Hurston. 

“That night, a strange thing happened,” Hughes writes. “After sundown, in the evening dusk, as we were nearing the city of Savannah, we noticed a dark figure waving at us frantically from the swamps at the side of the road.”

Johnny Clegg obituary, 1953-2019

Johnny Clegg, who has died of cancer aged 66, was a white singer-songwriter who became a national hero in South Africa by using music to defy the apartheid-era segregation laws. He challenged the authorities by forming mixed-race bands, performing to both black and white audiences, and mixing Zulu influences into songs that brought him international success. Known as the “white Zulu” or umlungu omnyama (“the black white person”), he spoke fluent Zulu and was an energetic and skilful exponent of Zulu dance.

He was best known for the poignant, stirring 1987 anthem Asimbonanga (We have not seen him), a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who was then still in jail, and to other key figures of the anti-apartheid struggle.