The World Mourns Loss of Gloria Naylor

By Sameer Rao Oct 04, 2016

In a year that has seen too many Black creative luminaries taken too soon, the world mourns the death of author Gloria Naylor’s.

She died last Wednesday (September 28) at the age of 66, but The New York Times confirmed her passing yesterday (October 3). Her neice, Cheryl Rance, said that she died of heart failure in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Naylor was perhaps best known for her debut 1982 novel, "The Women of Brewster Place." The novel, which won a National Book Award, focuses on seven women living in a housing project and struggling with tragedy, including rape and the death of a child. "The Women of Brewster Place" was eventually adapted into a 1989 miniseries and 1990 TV show by Oprah Winfrey‘s (who stars in both) Harpo Productions.

Her later works dealt with related themes of racism, homophobia, sexism and Black womanhood, principally emphasizing the lives of its Black female characters. 

Naylor’s death, especially among those who she inspired to take up their own stories, was mourned by many on social media: