Read Until You Understand

Read Until You Understand

Farah Jasmine Griffin’s beloved father died when she was nine, bequeathing her an unparalleled inheritance in closets full of remarkable books and other records of Black genius. In Read Until You Understand―a line from a note he wrote to her―she shares a lifetime of discoveries: the ideas that framed the US Constitution and that inspired Malcolm X’s fervent speeches, the soulful music of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, the daring literature of Phillis Wheatley and Toni Morrison, the artistry of Romare Bearden, and many others.

Having taught a popular Columbia University survey course of Black literature, she explores themes such as grace, justice, rage, self-determination, beauty, and mercy to help readers grapple with the ongoing project that is American democracy. Joining her experiences in Black communities with her immersion in the glorious works of Black artists, Read Until You Understand is a powerful testament to the enduring wisdom of Black culture and history.