Special Events!

Toni Morrison with Barack Obama Congratulations!
Toni Morrison receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, May 29, 2012

Language Matters is a national educational and service initiative of the Toni Morrison Society. Established in 2001, it is designed to provide opportunities for interactive dialogue among school teachers and between teachers and scholars, and to create appropriate instructional materials for those teaching imaginative literature, especially the novels of Toni Morrison in secondary school classrooms. Language Matters, coordinated by the Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas, is a three-time NEH grant recipient.

HOME at Cardoza 2
Cardozo High School Students proudly display their copies of HOME on its release day. They are traditionally the first high school in the country to read a new Morrison novel.

Dr. Frazier O'Leary is an English teacher at Cardozo High School and has been a teacher and advocate of Toni Morrison's work for many years. In 2001, O'Leary was instrumental in developing our Language Matters initiative and facilitated the first project at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. Five hundred students school-wide read and studied Toni Morrion's The Bluest Eye. Since then, Mr. O'Leary has been an active Language Matters scholar, lending his expertise in each subsequent Language Matters workshop or institute. He continues to teach all of Morrison's novels in his classroom, including her most recent publications, A Mercy and Home (pictured above). Congratulations to Cardozo students for being the first high school class in the country to read HOME!

Language Matters I: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison

September 2003–May 2004 at Cardozo High School in Washington, DC. Cardozo High School is the birthplace of Language Matters.

Cardozo has been in the forefront of the Language Matters initiative. Its students have been the most consistent young readers of Morrison's texts. Cardozo was the first school in the nation to do a school–wide reading of The Bluest Eye, and as the first high school to read A Mercy, they were featured in the Washington Post. At Cardozo, the LM tradition continues.

View the video from the Washington Post

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Language Matters II: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison

July 9-17, 2005, in conjunction with the Fourth Biennial Conference, "Toni Morrison & Sites of Memory," July 14-17, 2005 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.

Language Matters III: Talking Back to Morrison's Texts: From Reader to Writer

July 24–27, 2008, in conjunction with the 5th Biennial Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

Language Matters IV: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison in Translation

November 4–7, 2010, in conjunction with the Sixth Biennial Conference, "Toni Morrison and the Circuits of the Imagination/Toni Morrison et les Circuits de l'Imaginaire," in Paris.

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