In January 1988 (only a few months after James Baldwin died unsung in American literary circles), Morrison was nominated for Ritz-Hemingway, National Book, and National Book Critics Circle awards but won none of them. Led by poet June Jordan, a formal protest ran in major newspapers, accompanied by an open letter from Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Henry Louis Gates, Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, Angela Davis, and 42 other black colleagues who decried the slight of Morrison's accomplishment. Morrison's supporters argued that she advances "the moral and artistic standards by which we must measure the daring and love of our national imagination and our collective intelligence as a people." Critic Houston A. Baker labeled the action a "civil action" designed to call attention to a "miscarriage of judgment." He explained, "We wanted to call the attention of others to this ignoring of the beauty and greatness of Morrison. This is egregious."
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National Book Critics, American literary circles, Yale. Morrison, accomplishment. Morrison, Melcher Book Award