“Beloved”, written by Toni Morrison and published in 1987, won the Pulitzer Prize and loosely follows the story of escaped slave Margaret Garner. Garner’s Medea-like heroics when she was captured in her attempt to escape from slavery threw the city of Cincinnati, OH to the forefront of the Nation’s attention.
Garner made the ultimate sacrifice and instead of seeing her child be taken back into slavery, decided to take the child’s life with her own two hands.
Morrison’s fictional reproduction of this real life drama was so popular; Oprah Winfrey redeveloped it into a screen play in addition to a Michigan Opera house creating a theatrical stage production of the novel in the form of an opera.
I became interested in the story for two reasons; (1) it was a true story and (2) the story occurred in the part of the country where I was from. In my infatuation with the story, I spent years researching all the nuances of the story to even traveling to the farm where Margaret Garner lived (yes it is still there). I even gave seminars on this topic, going over the similarities and differences in the real life story and fictional adaptations.
I have decided to reprise the seminar this upcoming Black History Month. There are few new developments that I have found, and I feel that it would be cool to remind people in this area of Southern Ohio that the Nobel Prize winning “Beloved” came from a story from this area.