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They read Toni Morrison in school — and she changed their world

Author Toni Morrison poses with a copy of her book "Beloved" in New York in 1987. (David Bookstaver/AP)

Among the many tributes paid on social media to Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, whose death was announced Tuesday, perhaps the most poignant are from women who read her works in school and found not only inspiration but also new ways to look at themselves and the world.

Some teachers included Morrison’s works — among them, “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon” and “Sula” — in their literature and reading classes from middle school through college. Other schools and politicians tried to ban her works, which told raw stories of slavery and of black life in America.

In 2017, for example, Virginia’s governor at the time, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, vetoed a bill that would have required schools to notify parents when students were assigned materials deemed sexually explicit. The measure became known as the “Beloved bill,” because it was born from an effort to ban Morrison’s “Beloved” from Fairfax County schools. According to the American Library Association, the book has been challenged repeatedly in school districts across the country.

Trailblazing author Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to win the Nobel prize for literature, died Aug. 5, 2019. Her legacy goes beyond awards. (Video: The Washington Post)

But in many classes students were assigned her books — and their lives were changed, as they explain below in these tweets:

And there’s this, a quote from Morrison, who was a professor for years: