Help Wanted: In Search of a Toni Morrison Citation

If you commonly conduct research, you know that it can be completely exhilarating and extremely frustrating. Exhibit one — At some point in time, I located the following Toni Morrison quote:

“Every little black child in literature or in theatre was a joke or a pet, a Topsy like in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and I was one of those little people and I wanted to read about such a child. It took five years for me to write that really small book to pay attention, pay attention to this child. Maybe, maybe she’s in difficulty. She’s obviously hurt. She’s abused and misused. But take her seriously please.”

– Toni Morrison, somewhere, some time, and in some context

It’s a wonderful quote, especially if for a black girlhood scholar. I remember feeling fortunate to find the statement, and I had the foresight to save it in my files. However, I did not follow the first rule of research — document and cite source materials immediately. Rookie move, I know. But, this is where the BGP community comes in. . . I hope.

Have you seen this quote before? Do you have any idea where it is cited, when Morrison said it, or its context? Any assistance in this search would be greatly appreciated.

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