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Morrison was inspired by this true story writing her novel Beloved, which was the basis for her first opera. Garner was a slave who was separated from her husband by a white slave-owner and forced to become his mistress. In 1856, she fled to the supposedly free state of Ohio. Rather than allow her children to be taken back into slavery, Margaret tried to kill them. Should Margaret be tried for murder-an admission that slaves were human beings-or should she be tried for destruction of property since her children belonged to her master? Richard Danielpour composed this opera starring Denyce Graves.