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Cornel West Lecture 6 – A Love Supreme (A Way Through)

The last of Professor West’s Gifford Lectures, titled ‘A Love Supreme (A Way Through)’ took place on Thursday 16th May at the Informatics Forum. This event was chaired by Professor Stewart J. Brown, Professor Emeritus of Ecclesiastical History, and Deputy-Convenor of the Gifford Lectureship Committee.

Below is a summary of the lecture, followed by a response by Dr Frances Rowbottom. You can watch the Lecture recording on YouTube, and join in the discussion by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

As Prof. West took the stage for the sixth and final time of this remarkable Gifford Lecture Series, he reflected that these events have been a ‘blessing’, ‘sublime for me in terms of sustaining my soul’, and expressed his gratitude for the love shown to himself and his wife, Prof. Annahita Mahdavi West, from Prof. Brown, and all the ‘precious brothers, sisters, siblings, and friends’ who have travelled to witness him speak. ‘In many ways’, he continued, ‘it is a kind of family reunion’, that (like the song of the same name written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, sung by the O’Jays, and later covered by Jill Scott with a sample of The Escorts’ ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’ [written by Sylvia Robinson]) ‘lifts up a joy in the midst of overwhelming dimness’. That same Robinson was the ‘mother of hip-hop’, West noted, and produced both The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rappers Delight’ and Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’, whose refrain potently reminds us of how the Black musical tradition is one concerned with ‘looking for a way through’ the catastrophe of the American Empire: ‘it’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under’.

W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois

Catastrophe in this tradition is certainly ‘damaging’ but not ‘overwhelming’, as it becomes, West suggested, the source of moral, spiritual, and creative fortitude, the inspiration for revolutionary love and artistic reinvention. ‘We can’t talk about a tradition that produced a cracked vessel like me’, he voiced, ‘without acknowledging those great exemplars who came before, wrestling with finding a way through’, be they Amiri Baraka, Albert Murray, or Ralph Ellison. The ‘bedrock text’ of this tradition, he continued, is W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folks (1903), which begins each chapter with ‘wordless melodies, of golden moments of precious memories’, and opens with the ‘guttural cries’ of the ‘precious African bodies at the bottom of the ocean’, those killed on their forced journey into ‘the New World’. ‘We begin with guttural cries and wrenching moans and visceral groans to be transfigured and transposed into gestures, language, sound, silence, light’.

So much of what Du Bois writes is informed by Henry Highland Garnet, the African American abolitionist and organiser, minister and educator, who, equally ‘fundamental to Prof. West’s own work, argued that for Black peoples, ‘Pharaoh is on both sides of the bloody Red Seas’. Unlike the Israelites, he believed, they could not achieve exodus from their own forms of bondage; thus as West continued, even the ‘exodus narrative has to be reshaped to look from the perspective of the Canaanites’, as they like all oppressed peoples were ‘looking for a way out’.

We begin with guttural cries and wrenching moans and visceral groans to be transfigured and transposed into gestures, language, sound, silence, light

One could imagine freedom fighters, West conjectured, such as Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman asking Garnet if ‘all hope is gone’ and ‘all possibility foreclosed[:] could somebody sing a song please?’ to evoke a ‘tradition of speaking to Black people’s humanity and creativity and genius and talent and intelligence, looking for a way out’. Du Bois too, West remarked, turned to the signature spiritual, ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’ – a song that laments the catastrophic treatment of African Americans while at the same time praising ‘Glory, Hallelujah’. The impetus behind his Gifford Lectures have been to trace the ‘wisdom and insights, [while] aware of the limitations, of the Western philosophical tradition, beginning with Plato going all the way through to the present’ in order to understand that ‘gap’ between unspeakable ‘Trouble’ and ‘Glory, Hallelujah’ in its lyrics – the same metaphorical gap, he described, as symbolised by ‘Pharoah on both sides of the bloody Red Seas’.

Professor Cornel West giving his lecture, holding a book

Prof. West delivering his Gifford Lecture

Thus, this final 2024 Gifford Lecture was, in West’s words, ‘deeply autobiographical’: it ‘begin[s] with the reality of what it means to be a very small wave in an ocean of a great tradition of a great Black people’, one not ‘tribal’ nor ‘provincial’ but ‘existential’. ‘I am who I am’, West declared, ‘because somebody loved me intensely, genuinely, sacrificially, concretely. That’s who Irene B. West is, even though she’s gone. Part of her afterlife, in my life. Clifton West, afterlife in my life’, evoking the influence of his parents. These lectures, and indeed his jazz-soaked philosophy, are an attempt to ‘get out’ that which was ‘poured inside of me […] critically filtered through my philosophical education but grounded in my spiritual formation. […] To locate yourself in the waves of the ocean that has gone into the making of each and every one of us.’

Any serious discussion of a jazz-soaked philosophy is hence fundamentally about ‘mustering the courage to examine what has gone inside of us, some of it to reject, much of it to hold on for dear life’; to build upon the traditions and lives of the past, for good and for bad, in order to recognise our own relation to catastrophe in our own times, and to find a way beyond them through blues, swing, improvisation, through love. Indeed, as West described, after ‘four hundred years of Black people in the New World being so chronically hated’, the most potent question (and indeed lesson) is how it is ‘that we Black people have been able to teach the world so much about love and how to love?’.

This is the profound action, the deep vocation, we find in Harriet Tubman’s courageous support in the Underground Railroad, her ability to go ‘back over and over again in[to] the belly of the slavocratic beast’ in her pursuit to save her fellow men, women, and children. Hers is a model of love that is not ‘abstract’ but ‘concrete’, West proclaimed. And indeed this decision in the wake of white supremacist terror, to call for freedom for everybody’ and not merely reproduce those same forms of violent hegemony, to seek ‘love and justice’ over ‘hate and revenge’ has spared generations of civil war and strife in America. Our ability to resist the encroaching pull of fascism, Prof. West urged, rests upon the ability to hold on to the ‘best of our own tradition’ or else ‘our love does end up being too tied to hatred’, distorted by an American Empire ‘so thoroughly commodified’, ‘militarised’, ‘driven with hubris’. Coltrane and his ‘love supreme’ are precisely about the ‘wounded healers in the face of trauma, and the joy sharers in the face of very deep sorrow’.

Coltrane and his ‘love supreme’ are precisely about the ‘wounded healers in the face of trauma, and the joy sharers in the face of very deep sorrow

Contact sheet of portraits of Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

The highest example of this ‘love supreme’ – one enacted for people of all backgrounds – in modern literature occurs in Toni Morrison’s celebrated 1987 novel Beloved. Morrison, he noted, was a ‘literary musician’, a ‘black metaphysician’, who named herself after St. Anthony, an educator and patron saint of lost things, encompassing her own project of moralising loss and how to come to terms with it. In a section of the lecture responding to Morrison’s character Baby Suggs, West read and reflected upon an extended sequence from Beloved:

‘[Baby Suggs] decided that, because slave life had “busted her legs, back, head, eyes, hands, kidneys, womb and tongue,” she had nothing left to make a living with but her heart–which she put to work at once.’ With Pharoah on both sides, West recalled, and as Baby Suggs shows, ‘all you have is your humanity to work with’.

‘Accepting no title of honor before her name, but allowing a small caress after it, she became an unchurched preacher, one who visited pulpits and opened her great heart to those who could use it. […] Uncalled, unrobed, un anointed, she let her great heart beat in their presence. When warm weather came, Baby Suggs, holy, followed by every black man, woman and child who could make it through, took her great heart to the Clearing–a wide-open place cut deep in the woods nobody knew for what at the end of a path known only to deer and whoever cleared the land in the first place. In the heat of every Saturday afternoon, she sat in the clearing while the people waited among the trees.’ This clearing, West described, reflects the influence of ‘community’, ‘tradition’, ‘connections’, and ‘relations’; these are ‘not isolated philosophical geniuses in conversation with isolated poets, putting pen to paper – this is flowing – the same flow we see in hip-hop and Black musical traditions, the same flow of the wave in the ocean.

‘After situating herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down. Then she shouted, “Let the children come!” and they ran from the trees toward her.’ Here Morrison echoes the Christian New Testament (‘suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven’) by giving children priority. Her words reflect, per West, a ‘childlike’, but not childish, disposition that celebrates ‘awe, wonder, open-mindedness’, and infuses the catastrophic with the comic without cynicism, but rather like the ‘delicious chuckle’ Du Bois articulates in his book Dusk of Dawn.

A plaque reading 'in memory of Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Carol Robertson'

Memorial at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

“Let your mothers hear you laugh,” she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling.’ These smiles evoke a bodily transformation, the transfiguration of pain into something beautiful and transcendent, capable of uplifting one out of the catastrophic conditions they are in. They recall, West emphasised, Billie Holiday singing ‘“Strange Fruit”, catastrophe, with a beautiful smile from Baltimore City’, or the ‘greatest lament ever produced in the history of the American Empire, the John Coltrane Classic Quartet playing ‘Alabama’, responding to the visceral murder of four precious girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church by cowardly white supremacist terrorists’. In one 1966 performance, West retold, Coltrane ‘threw [his saxophone] on the ground, started beating his chest’, ‘because it’s not just about the music, as powerful as it is’, but is also about expression, about improvisation and refusal – ‘just as a love supreme is […] about something grander and greater, that stands so high and at the same time so low, because it connects musicality to the mundane’.

‘Then “Let the grown men come,” she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees. “Let your wives and your children see you dance,” she told them, and groundlife shuddered under their feet. Finally she called the women to her. “Cry,” she told them. “For the living and the dead. Just cry.” And without covering their eyes the women let loose.’ Morrison like Du Bois evokes those ‘guttural cries on the slave ship […] that dropped those precious Africans to slave auctions, took them to slave plantations.’ This visceral cry, West suggested, is a potent recognition of how enslaved Africans ‘constitut[ed] the economic foundation of the American Empire’ even as slavery was written out of the US constitution in order to preserve a veneer of ‘innocence’ dependent upon the obfuscation of slavocracy’s ‘devastation and those who are devastated’. As these women ‘let loose’, he continued, they exemplify this jazz-soaked notion of ‘swing’, and this is the exemplar of the ‘best’ of this tradition that is needed to become what Coltrane calls a ‘force for good’ – this moral cultivation rests, West described, on ‘learning to love myself in a culture that teaches Black people to hate themselves […] tells Black people they’re less beautiful, less moral, less intelligent […] tells Black people to be afraid’ and, in the words of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, ‘[to wear] the mask as you engage in upward mobility in white spaces’. Yet as Baldwin reminds us, ‘it’s love that forces us to take off the mask we know we cannot live within but fear we cannot live without’. This fear is only broken through ‘a love supreme, concretised […] felt, body, heart, mind, spirit, enacted in relation, in connection.’

As Baldwin reminds us, ‘it’s love that forces us to take off the mask we know we cannot live within but fear we cannot live without’. This fear is only broken through ‘a love supreme, concretised […] felt, body, heart, mind, spirit, enacted in relation, in connection’

‘In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart. She did not tell them to clean up their lives or to go and sin no more. She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure. She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it’ West connected Morrison’s words to Vico’s emphasis on memory (discussed in Lecture Four), tied to the act of remembering, and what Morrison terms rememory, ‘the gathering of that which is dismembered, dispersed; your own self, your own history’ in order to, as West continued, ‘reconnect it’.

dust jacket cover reading Beloved, a novel, Toni Morrison‘”Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. […] And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. […] No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. […] And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. […] More than your life holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the music. Long notes held until the four-part harmony was perfect enough for their deeply loved flesh.’ Reading further from Beloved, West remarked that Baby Suggs communicated ‘beyond language’ through her body, exemplifying a ‘kinetic orality, passionate physicality, combative spirituality’, akin to the towering influence of Black women such as Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and so many others who were the formative figures of the jazz tradition. This modality of self-love recognises the ‘unfinished’ project of history and seeks to intervene through courage and movement and improvisation, through the radical power to ‘love and laugh and organise and sacrifice’.

West described the characters in the novel’s scene: ‘these are fortifiers, love warriors, freedom fighters, joy sharers, for a people who are told they have absolutely no chance whatsoever, and then make it available to the world’, to all those who ‘have to come to terms with catastrophe […] and need fluidity, flexibility, improvisational sensibilities, to somehow give them not just a hope in the abstract’, but a ‘hope tied to kinesis, motion and movement, rooted in the right kind of Kairos […] honed out day in and day out from one generation to the next’.

Beloved encompasses the message of a ‘love supreme’ because it is so concerned with what it means to be human, and to come from a tradition of other humans, through drama that is simultaneously generational, erotic (concerned with love), social (with power), ritualistic (with death), and metaphysical (‘related to forces bigger than oneself’).

James Baldwin, smoking, seated at a microphone during a conference

James Baldwin

Morrison, West continued, herself defined metaphysical Blackness through the titular character of her novel Sula: this quality ‘has nothing to do with melanin’ but ‘extracting choice from choicelessness, responding inventively to found things’ and daring to disrupt, reconceptualise, reform our ways of being – to be ‘uncontained and uncontainable’, what West named in his second lecture as topos, the quality of being unclassifiable, unsubsumable, an individual but in relation to one’s community. As Morrison wrote, there ‘must be some way to enhance canon readings without enshrining them’, and it is this concern that has fundamentally underpinned his Gifford Lectures, and his improvisational movements through, his syncopations between, voices of the Western philosophical tradition.

As the lecture came to a close, West remarked on Morrison’s own tribute to James Baldwin, who she declared ‘made English honest’, and ‘ungated it for Black people’. One of his most significant gifts, Morrison wrote, was ‘tenderness’, that which we find in a ‘love supreme’, and that which cannot exist unless one is willing to ‘Socratically criticise yourself, prophetically bear witness to the best inside of yourself’, and recognise oneself as a ‘cracked vessel’. Evoking the memory of his vacation Bible School teacher Sarah Ray, West quoted, ‘little Cornel, wherever you go (even at the Gifford lectures) if the kingdom of God is within you, then everywhere you go you ought to leave a little heaven behind’ – ‘that’s what it’s all about’.

wherever you go (even at the Gifford lectures) if the kingdom of God is within you, then everywhere you go you ought to leave a little heaven behind

Prof. West closed this final lecture with a story about Coltrane and the formation of his musical genius. As a teenager, Coltrane experienced the catastrophe of losing his father, his grandfather, his aunt, and used his musical practice as a means of working through his own ‘inner anguish’. Moving with his mother to the Philadelphia projects, he practiced all day until their neighbours forced them to leave, unhappy with his constant playing. On the day before their eviction, they received a knock on the door from a Black minister who heard about their predicament – and who gave them the key to his church, offering him to ‘play any time he wants’. This gesture, West concluded, was a ‘love supreme’ exemplified, an ‘acknowledgement’, a ‘resoluteness’, a moment of ‘gratitude’. ‘There is no John Coltrane ‘love supreme’ without that anonymous Negro preacher, and Coltrane never forgot that, grounded in that very concretised individualised love tied to a freedom, tied to a joy, tied to, yes indeed, a healing. Even when pharaoh is on both sides of the bloody red sea, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story’.




Response by Dr Frances Rowbottom

Considering Black love in literature, despite the history of Black enslavement, the “commodification of the American empire” and pressures of “catastrophic times,” Cornel West cites examples of uplifting love from his own life, of those who have gone before him, in the need to “acknowledge great exemplars who came before, wrestling with finding a way through.” Recipients of Black love are a vessel, with love being in motion through emotion: poured and deposited into the recipient’s promise, fulfilling them in their need. However, on the other side of the coin of Black love is Black loss. The tensions between a way through and a way out are identified in ‘A Love Supreme (A Way Through),’ along with the use of musicality and orality to portray the roots of Black tradition. West cites W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1903 The Souls of Black Folk, and the use of music in the opening of each section to signify and align with Black musicality: the notes represent a form of silence as well as aural potential, in their spatial imagery on the black and white page. West sees these notes as “golden memories,” in their promise of representation. These notes represent hope; a hope West sees as “timed in the right way,” tied to kinetic motion in the ultimate. Black love is held within a multitude of potentiality – being loved “intensely,” “concretely,” “genuinely,” “sacrificially,” not “parochial” but “existential,” representing human beings concerned about “what it means to be human.”

Delta Blues Museum (image courtesy of Frances Rowbottom)

In terms of the blues tradition specifically, music was seen as a form of escape. During the time of enslavement until Emancipation in January 1863, and for too many decades afterwards, Black music was used as a tool of motivation and escapism. As Du Bois observed in 1935, in Black Reconstruction in America, “the slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.” Black musicality can be a response to capturing the “brief moment in the sun,” the moment of transcendence, a line in the sand as well as the music stave. As West asks, “how can it be that we Black people have been able to teach the world about love?,” despite love’s concurrent loss, and a history stolen by American white supremacism. Speaking on Black love in 1992, West outlined a sense of motivation: “Blacks need to apply a strong sense of love and community to combat feelings of rage and invisibility,” or Du Bois’s shadowed social retreat from the sun’s illuminating potential.[1] In Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Delta Blues Museum assesses a similar view of Black music. In terms of the blues specifically – named for the emotion this music evokes – musicians such as Muddy Waters “revealed the depths of human suffering, the importance of a sense of place, the fact that deprivation breeds inventiveness and that both joy and sorrow are worthy of celebration.”[2] Furthermore, “discrimination itself is seldom called out directly in the blues, but every black blues musician and songwriter lived through effects of prejudice – maybe violent, maybe economic.”[3] Although “the precise origins of the blues are lost to time,” as cited in a plaque at Dockery Farms, Mississippi – commonly thought to have been a birthplace of the blues, and home to Charley Patton and Howlin’ Wolf – the blues and jazz have always been an expression of Black love, as well as a response to socioeconomic pressures.

Dockery Farms Plantation (image courtesy of Frances Rowbottom)

West sees “deep love” as being “as foundational as a stone” in life and within literature. However, when foregrounding Black love, there is a sense of self-denial in Black music history: “because blues and jazz were associated with lewd conduct and a shady milieu by much of middle-class America, it was necessary for black Americans to disown those musical forms.”[4] In reclaiming the potential of Black love, tradition and musicality are also reclaimed. However, West identifies that these feelings cannot be entirely contained within literature necessarily, in that “when it comes to my own tradition, it’s really music that sits at the center. See, the problem of texts is that they are still so preoccupied with words and language.”[5]

Jazz’s storytelling potential is seen in the nightly improvised narratives woven in places such as Preservation Hall, New Orleans, or in the riffed spaces between each member of a first line. West bared his soul to Vinson Cunningham in a 2022 interview with The New Yorker: “as a human being and Black man in the American empire, I wrestle with desperation. And so, like a bluesman or a jazzwoman, I got to be flexible, fluid, and improvisational, looking for whatever sources and resources I can, to try to be a force for good.”[6]  However, historically “jazz didn’t seem compatible with the ‘New Negro’ image of a dignified sophisticated artist, proud of black ancestry and accepted by white America. But this was not an entirely negative view – jazz simply needed polish and a smart suit to make it an accepted part of the movement.”[7] Railing against subsuming the self for acceptability, Du Bois saw that “too much of Black artistic production was judged by Whites, through the rules of Whites…this was not seeing the real America. This was the sight of Blackness through White eyes.”[8]

Preservation Hall Jazz Band (image courtesy of Rowbottom)

Black love is intertwined with jazz, on the face of the “smart suit” conforming to achieve acceptance. In terms of jazz in “words and music,” Morrison has written specifically on the subject; her novel Jazz was published in 1992. Revisiting the novel in 2004, Morrison wrote that “that the first lines, like so much of the best music, were born of a physical expression of frustration.”[9] The concept of ‘love supreme’ is “not just about the music,” according to West, but about finding a way in which to “connect musicality to the mundane,” and a precedent which simultaneously stands “so high” and “so low,” about “something grander and greater than ourselves.” Accepting Black love through deed and music becomes an exercise in accepting the self. Morrison has observed that “writing is, after all, an act of language, its practice. But first of all it is an effort of the will to discover.”[10] From this we can align West’s ideal of love as connection beyond language – a love supreme in collaboration with complementary forms of “joy supreme,” “freedom supreme,” “healing supreme.” West reveres Morrison as a “literary musician” and magician, a creator of the act of love that could only come with worship. I identify a thread of loss – within Morrison, within Black love, within a loss of love and loss of tradition, loss of autonomy within the foundational optics of the American empire. Black love is both Black and love always; Morrison identifies the places where “silences are being broken,” and where “lost things have been found.”[11] In relation, West pontificates on love as re-membering, as a counteraction of dis-membering. Black love represents a gathering – like Baby Suggs’s prophetic power in the clearing – of that which has been dismembered, reconnecting to the self that has been dispersed. Morrison related in Love that “people tell me that I am always writing about love,” “always, always love. I nod, yes, but it isn’t true—not exactly. In fact, I am always writing about betrayal. Love is the weather. Betrayal is the lightning that cleaves and reveals it.” Betrayal could be in dismissing a love supreme: powerful for West in its formative potential of “acknowledgement, resolution, resoluteness, pursuit and gratitude.” Pete Adamson and Chike Jeffers see, in West’s alignment with music, “the rich pathos of sorrow and joy, simultaneously present in the spirituals, the exuberant and lyrical tragicomedy of the blues, and the improvisational character of jazz, affirm[ing] Afro-American humanity.”[12] Therefore a love supreme cannot be dismissed easily – it is foundationally affirmative, in the sense of creation and kinetic motion in emotion. West sees Black love’s potential, but it is not found in “utilitarian calculation, it’s not just political strategy. It’s at the deepest level of what it means to be human…that’s the kind of radical love I’ve always been committed to.”[13]

[1] Margaret Isa, ‘West Speaks on “Black Love”: African-Americans Must Resist Feelings of Hate, Despair.’ 30 Oct. 1992.

[2] Wall text.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Alwyn Williams, ‘Jazz and the New Negro: Harlem’s Intellectuals Wrestle with the Art of the Age’, Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, July 2002), pp. 1-18.

[5] In conversation with Karlos K. Hill, ‘Prophetic Witness and Radical Love: A Conversation with Cornel West,’ World Literature Today, November 2023.

[6] Vinson Cunningham, ‘Cornel West Sees a Spiritual Decay in the Culture, The New Yorker Interview’ 09 Mar. 2022.

[7] Williams.

[8] Clay Matlin, ‘W. E. B. Du Bois and the Aesthetics of Emancipation’, Black Perspectives, 21 Apr. 2022.

[9] Morgan Parker, ‘How Toni Morrison Wrote Her Most Challenging Novel.’ The New York Times Style Magazine, 20 Oct. 2022.

[10] Toni Morrison, ‘Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature.’ The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Delivered at The University of Michigan, 07 Oct. 1988, pp. 123-63.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Peter Adamson and Chike Jeffers, ‘HAP 139 – A Love Supreme: Cornel West,’ History of Philosophy. [Podcast]

[13] In conversation with Hill.

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