Ecology and Toni Morrison - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities
Close Menu

Ecology and Toni Morrison

Join the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities for a lecture by TU alumni, Althea Tait. Tait’s lecture, “Ecology, the Soul, and Toni Morrison,” will explore the connections between hunger, agency, and ecology in the works of Morrison. She will delve into the complications and anxieties of radical hunger and the defiant survival, sustenance, and beauty of the victory gardens of WWII.

From the author:

“’He wondered why black people ever left the South.’ Song of Solomon

Black people left the South, trekking through soil thick as clay while catching tricklings of the river to soothe the weariness within. We know from the narratives of those who landed in Oklahoma, that migration was necessary, salvific. It was the beginning of recovery—a soul renaissance. How did these desperate builders of the next generation trace the distance between them and the sky holding the dripping, drinking gourd to the North Star on the overcast days and nights? Moss growing on the north side of trees and the wingspan of the birds traveling north ebbed away fears—with this and more, the people held onto the promise of recovery.

To get to this place, the people relied on their ecological connections to the galaxy. They respected nature’s wisdom and, in return, nature expected them to yield care and wisdom. One hundred and fifty years or so later, this call to the human spirit to reconnect to nature is revived. And akin to the early migration, it fosters a conversation between all human beings. This talk brings to the table cultural and literary voices that are divergent and yet synergetic such as Toni Morrison and Alice Waters. It inspires you to consider Waters’ culinary legacy and green activism—inspired, in part, by her family’s WWII Victory Garden—as an entry point into Toni Morrison’s ecological treatment in her novels such as the Oklahoma-based novel Paradise.”


This lecture is scheduled for February 17, 7:00- 8:30p in the Tyrell Hall auditorium– with a simultaneous Zoom stream.  To watch virtually, click this Zoom link. The event is free and accessible to all. Mask wearing is strongly encouraged.

Questions can be sent to


Althea Tait is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tulsa. She specializes in 19th and 20th century African American Literature and Women’s Studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript, entitled Toni Morrison and The Soul of Beauty: Cultural Perspectives of Black Women.