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AMERICAN MASTERS: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Toni Morrison in "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am," a Magnolia Pictures release.
Courtesy of ©Timothy Greenfield-Sanders / Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Toni Morrison in "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am," a Magnolia Pictures release.

Encore Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 (no longer available on demand)

AMERICAN MASTERS “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ‘70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature.

Full Trailer | Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula” and “Song of Solomon,” her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.

The Story Behind the Title of the Novel "The Bluest Eye"

In addition to Ms. Morrison, the film features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel “Beloved” into a feature film. Using Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ elegant portrait- style interviews, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” includes original music by Kathryn Bostic, a specially created opening sequence by artist Mickalene Thomas, and evocative works by other contemporary African-American artists including Kara Walker, Rashid Johnson and Kerry James Marshall.

Morrison died on Aug. 5, 2019.

Why Fran Lebowitz Always Sought Advice From Toni Morrison

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This film is no longer available on demand at, but can be purchased at Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

Toni Morrison On Writing Without the "White Gaze"

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Directed / Produced by Timothy-Greenfield Sanders. Produced by Johanna Giebelhaus, Chad Thompson and Tommy Walker. Executive Producer: Michael Kantor. Edited and researched by Johanna Giebelhaus. Music by Kathryn Bostic. Opening credits art by Mickalene Thomas. Director of Photography: Graham Willoughby. Supervising Sound Editor: Lewis Goldstein.

Director Interview with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders