Anti-Racism Reading Recommendations

Below is a list of anti-racism and social justice books and reports categorized by the below book topics.  This list is a work in progress.  Please email peoplesschooldc@gmail.com if you have any suggested readings.


Book Topics

Anti-racism Perspectives
DC History
Racial Trauma, Self-Care, and Healing
Racial Demographics and Disparities
Gender Racism
Rise of Capitalism and Colonialism
US Emperialism, Neocolonialism, and Neoliberialism
Decolonization
Comprehensive US History
US Slavery
Civil War to World War 2: Slavery by Another Name
Housing and Banking Discrimination
Criminal Justice System
Medicine and Healthcare
Racial History of Welfare
Political Right
21st Century Events
Indigenous and Latinx History
Asian History
Islamophobia
Food Justice
Palestinian Rights
LBGTQ Rights
Disability Rights History
Consumer Rights

 


Anti-racism Perspective

33606119

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ that led to this book. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.

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So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.



Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 4.45.02 PMFreedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movementby Angela Y. Davis
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

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How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi
In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In this book, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

43708708White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.

31ti2mAE0fL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? 

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“Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.

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Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel
Uprooting Racism explores the manifestations of racism in politics, work, community, and family life. It moves beyond the definition and unlearning of racism to address the many areas of privilege for white people and suggests ways for individuals and groups to challenge the structures of racism. Uprooting Racism’s welcoming style helps readers look at how we learn racism, what effects it has on our lives, its costs and benefits to white people, and what we can do about it.

46002342Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
Based off the original workbook, Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 90,000 people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook.

51hmmm5qAlL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing, and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. 20 activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.09.29 AMRacism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
The first edition of this best-selling book showed that alongside the subtle forms of discrimination typical of the post-Civil Rights era, new powerful ideology of “color-blind racism” has emerged. Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for and ultimately justify racial inequities.


Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.23.16 AMThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself “the angriest Black man in America” relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind. An established classic of modern America, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” was hailed by the New York Times as “Extraordinary. A brilliant, painful, important book.” Still extraordinary, still important, this electrifying story has transformed Malcom X’s life into his legacy. The strength of his words, the power of his ideas continue to resonate more than a generation after they first appeared.

419oEk2DsCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements—for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.36.54 PMCritical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Garry Peller, Kendall Thomas, Neil Gotanda
In the past few years, a new generation of progressive intellectuals has dramatically transformed how law, race, and racial power are understood and discussed in America. Questioning the old assumptions of both liberals and conservatives with respect to the goals and the means of traditional civil rights reform, critical race theorists have presented new paradigms for understanding racial injustice and new ways of seeing the links between race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. This reader, edited by the principal founders and leading theoreticians of the critical race theory movement, gathers together for the first time the movement’s most important essays.

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DC History

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 9.53.07 AMChocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch, George Derek Musgrove
Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation’s capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America’s expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city’s rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights. Tracing D.C.’s massive transformations–from a sparsely inhabited plantation society into a diverse metropolis, from a center of the slave trade to the nation’s first black-majority city, from “Chocolate City” to “Latte City–Asch and Musgrove offer an engaging narrative peppered with unforgettable characters, a history of deep racial division but also one of hope, resilience, and interracial cooperation.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 9.58.10 AMCapital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, D.C. by Derek Hyra, Sabiyha Prince
Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC uncovers and explains the dynamics that have influenced the contemporary economic advancement of Washington, DC. This volume’s unique interdisciplinary approach using historical, sociological, anthropological, economic, geographic, political, and linguistic theories and approaches, captures the comprehensive factors related to changes taking place in one of the world’s most important cities. Capital Dilemma clarifies how preexisting urban social hierarchies, established mainly along race and class lines but also along national and local interests, are linked with the city’s contemporary inequitable growth. While accounting for historic disparities, this book reveals how more recent federal and city political decisions and circumstances shape contemporary neighborhood gentrification patterns, highlighting the layered complexities of the modern national capital and connecting these considerations to Washington, DC’s past as well as to more recent policy choices.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.00.57 AMRace, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City by Derek S. Hyra
For long-time residents of Washington, DC’s Shaw/U Street, the neighborhood has become almost unrecognizable in recent years. Where the city’s most infamous open-air drug market once stood, a farmers’ market now sells grass-fed beef and homemade duck egg ravioli. On the corner where AM.PM carryout used to dish out soul food, a new establishment markets its $28 foie gras burger. Shaw is experiencing a dramatic transformation, from “ghetto” to “gilded ghetto,” where white newcomers are rehabbing homes, developing dog parks, and paving the way for a third wave coffee shop on nearly every block. Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City is an in-depth ethnography of this gilded ghetto. Derek S. Hyra captures here a quickly gentrifying space in which long-time black residents are joined, and variously displaced, by an influx of young, white, relatively wealthy, and/or gay professionals who, in part as a result of global economic forces and the recent development of central business districts, have returned to the cities earlier generations fled decades ago. As a result, America is witnessing the emergence of what Hyra calls “cappuccino cities.” A cappuccino has essentially the same ingredients as a cup of coffee with milk, but is considered upscale, and is double the price. In Hyra’s cappuccino city, the black inner-city neighborhood undergoes enormous transformations and becomes racially “lighter” and more expensive by the year.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.02.41 AMGo-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City by Natalie Hopkinson
Go-go is the conga-drum inflected black popular music that emerged in Washington, D.C., during the 1970s. The guitarist Chuck Brown, the “Godfather of Go-Go,” created the music by mixing sounds borrowed from church and the blues with the funk and flavor that he picked up playing for a local Latino band. Born in the inner city, amid the charred ruins of the 1968 race riots, go-go generated a distinct culture and an economy of independent, almost exclusively black-owned businesses, which sold tickets to shows and performance recordings. At the peak of its popularity, in the 1980s, go-go could be heard around the capital every night of the week, on college campuses and in crumbling historic theaters, hole-in-the-wall nightclubs, back yards, and city parks.Go-Go Live is a social history of black Washington told through its go-go music and culture. Encompassing dance moves, nightclubs, and fashion, as well as the voices of artists, fans, business owners, and politicians, Natalie Hopkinson’s Washington-based narrative reflects the broader history of race in urban America in the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first. In the 1990s, the middle class that had left the city for the suburbs in the postwar years, began to return. Gentrification drove up property values and pushed go-go into D.C.’s suburbs. The Chocolate City is in decline, but its heart, D.C.’s distinctive go-go musical culture, continues to beat. On any given night, there’s live go-go in the D.C. metro area.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.04.11 AMBlack Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.by Ashante M Reese
In this book, Ashante M. Reese makes clear the structural forces that determine food access in urban areas, highlighting Black residents’ navigation of and resistance to unequal food distribution systems. Linking these local food issues to the national problem of systemic racism, Reese examines the history of the majority-Black Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Reese not only documents racism and residential segregation in the nation’s capital but also tracks the ways transnational food corporations have shaped food availability. By connecting community members’ stories to the larger issues of racism and gentrification, Reese shows there are hundreds of Deanwoods across the country.  Reese’s geographies of self-reliance offer an alternative to models that depict Black residents as lacking agency, demonstrating how an ethnographically grounded study can locate and amplify nuances in how Black life unfolds within the context of unequal food access.

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Racial Trauma, Self-Care, and Healing

514aAA8H7RL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police.

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35883430I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America. Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion. In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

29633913Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.24.25 AMPleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown
How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work.


Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.45.04 PMThe Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness by Rhonda Magee
Law professor and mindfulness practitioner Rhonda Magee shows that the work of racial justice begins with ourselves. When conflict and division are everyday realities, our instincts tell us to close ranks, to find the safety of our own tribe, and to blame others. The practice of embodied mindfulness–paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in an open, nonjudgmental way–increases our emotional resilience, helps us to recognize our unconscious bias, and gives us the space to become less reactive and to choose how we respond to injustice.

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Racial Demographics and Disparities

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 4.05.44 PMBrown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority by Steve Phillips
Despite the abundant evidence from Obama’s victories proving that the U.S. population has fundamentally changed, many progressives and Democrats continue to waste millions of dollars chasing white swing voters. Explosive population growth of people of color in America over the past fifty years has laid the foundation for a New American Majority consisting of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters) and progressive whites (28 percent of all eligible voters). These two groups make up 51 percent of all eligible voters in America right now, and that majority is growing larger every day. Failing to properly appreciate this reality, progressives are at risk of missing this moment in history—and losing. A leader in national politics for thirty years, Steve Phillips has had a front-row seat to these extraordinary political changes. A civil rights lawyer and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Phillips draws on his extensive political experience to unveil exactly how people of color and progressive whites add up to a new majority, and what this means for U.S. politics and policy. A book brimming with urgency and hope, Brown Is the New White exposes how far behind the curve Democrats are in investing in communities of color—while illuminating a path forward to seize the opportunity created by the demographic revolution.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 5.44.19 PMBlack Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century by Monique W. Morris
Black Stats—a comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone attempting to fathom the complex state of our nation. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions. A compilation that at once highlights measures of incredible progress and enumerates the disparate impacts of social policies and practices, this book is a critical tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers. Black Stats offers indispensable information that is sure to enlighten discussions and provoke debates about the quality of Black life in the United States today—and help chart the path to a better future

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 5.46.10 PMLatino Stats: American Hispanics by the Numbers by Idelisse Malavé, Esti Giordani
At a time when politics is seemingly ruled by ideology and emotion and when immigration is one of the most contentious topics, it is more important than ever to cut through the rhetoric and highlight, in numbers, the reality of the broad spectrum of Latino life in the United States. Latinos are both the largest and fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the country, even while many continue to fight for their status as Americans. Respected movement builder and former leader of the Tides Foundation Idelisse Malavé and her daughter, Celeste Giordani—a communications strategist for the Social Transformation Project—distills the profusion of data, identifying the most telling and engaging facts to assemble a portrait of contemporary Latino life with glimpses of the past and future. From politics and the economy to popular culture, the arts, and ideas about race, gender, and family, Latino Stats both catalogs the inequities that plague Latino communities and documents Latinos’ growing power and influence on American life.

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Gender Racism

8494282At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire
Groundbreaking, controversial, and courageous, here is the story of Rosa Parks and Recy Taylor—a story that reinterprets the history of America’s civil rights movement in terms of the sexual violence committed against black women by white men. In this important book, Danielle McGuire writes about the rape in 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, who strolled toward home after an evening of singing and praying at the Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer—Rosa Parks—to Abbeville. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that exposed a ritualized history of sexual assault against black women and added fire to the growing call for change.

51I+4cp6LPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts
This is a no-holds-barred response to the liberal and conservative retreat from an assertive, activist, and socially transformative civil rights agenda of recent years–using a black feminist lens and the issue of  the impact of recent legislation, social policy, and welfare “reform” on black women’s–especially poor black women’s–control over their bodies’ autonomy and their freedom to bear and raise children with respect and dignity in a society whose white mainstream is determined to demonize, even criminalize their lives.   It gives its readers a cogent legal and historical argument for a radically new , and socially transformative, definition of  “liberty” and “equality” for the American polity from a black feminist perspective.

635635Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis
A powerful study of the women’s movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.

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How We Get Free : Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective
The Combahee River Collective, a path-breaking group of radical black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the antiracist and women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to Black feminism and its impact on today’s struggles. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States.

100322Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. This intensely personal and political autobiography belies the fearsome image of JoAnne Chesimard long projected by the media and the state. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.

45153160A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry, Kali Nicole Gross
A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are–and have always been–instrumental in shaping our country. In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.38.56 PMIntersectionality as Critical Social Theory by Patricia Hill Collins
In Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory Patricia Hill Collins offers a set of analytical tools for those wishing to develop intersectionality’s capability to theorize social inequality in ways that would facilitate social change. While intersectionality helps shed light on contemporary social issues, Collins notes that it has yet to reach its full potential as a critical social theory. She contends that for intersectionality to fully realize its power, its practitioners must critically reflect on its assumptions, epistemologies, and methods. She places intersectionality in dialog with several theoretical traditions—from the Frankfurt school to black feminist thought—to sharpen its definition and foreground its singular critical purchase, thereby providing a capacious interrogation into intersectionality’s potential to reshape the world.

403846Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici
Caliban and the Witch is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization.

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Rise of Capitalism and Colonialism

403846Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici
Caliban and the Witch is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization.

200142Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition by Cedric J. Robinson
In this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people’s history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of change and resistance. Black radicalism must be linked to the traditions of Africa and the unique experiences of blacks on western continents, Robinson argues, and any analyses of African American history need to acknowledge this. To illustrate his argument, Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright.

91lnVVSE7oLHow Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
The decisiveness of the short period of colonialism and its negative consequences for Africa spring mainly from the fact that Africa lost power. Power is the ultimate determinant in human society, being basic to the relations within any group and between groups. It implies the ability to defend one’s interests and if necessary to impose one’s will by any means available. In relations between peoples, the question of power determines maneuverability in bargaining, the extent to which a people survive as a physical and cultural entity. When one society finds itself forced to relinquish power entirely to another society, that in itself is a form of underdevelopment.

14894629The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation’s original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America’s later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.

51mbib4QUcL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Not “a Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion
Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.

66933The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of post-independence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other.


20588662An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

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US Emperialism, Neocolonialism, and Neoliberialism

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.22.33 AMHow to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwah
In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress. In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of space. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.40.07 AMThe Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
In her ground-breaking reporting from Iraq, Naomi Klein exposed how the trauma of invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations. She called it “disaster capitalism.” Covering Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, and New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic “shock treatment” losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers. The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman’s free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement’s peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa, Russia, and Iraq. At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. By capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, Klein argues that the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.08.13 PMBitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala by Stephen C. Schlesinger, Stephen Kinzer
Bitter Fruit is a comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.10.42 PMAll the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer
Half a century ago, the United States overthrew a Middle Eastern government for the first time. The victim was Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. Although the coup seemed a success at first, today it serves as a chilling lesson about the dangers of foreign intervention.In this book, veteran New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer gives the first full account of this fateful operation. His account is centered around an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the events of August 1953, and concludes with an assessment of the coup’s “haunting and terrible legacy.”Operation Ajax, as the plot was code-named, reshaped the history of Iran, the Middle East, and the world. It restored Mohammad Reza Shah to the Peacock Throne, allowing him to impose a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Islamic Revolution, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.”It is not far-fetched,” Kinzer asserts in this book, “to draw a line from Operation Ajax through the Shah’s repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York.”Drawing on research in the United States and Iran, and using material from a long-secret CIA report, Kinzer explains the background of the coup and tells how it was carried out.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.13.12 PMOverthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer
“Regime change” did not begin with the administration of George W. Bush, but has been an integral part of U.S. foreign policy for more than one hundred years. Starting with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and continuing through the Spanish-American War and the Cold War and into our own time, the United States has not hesitated to overthrow governments that stood in the way of its political and economic goals. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 is the latest, though perhaps not the last, example of the dangers inherent in these operations. In a compelling and provocative history that takes readers to fourteen countries, including Cuba, Iran, South Vietnam, Chile, and Iraq, Kinzer surveys modern American history from a new and often surprising perspective.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.42.06 AMManufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky
In this pathbreaking work, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

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Decolonization

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.06.31 AMPedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire’s work has taken on especial urgency in the United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in cities and urban centers is increasingly accepted as the norm. With a substantive new introduction on Freire’s life and the remarkable impact of this book by writer and Freire confidant and authority Donaldo Macedo, this anniversary edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will inspire a new generation of educators, students, and general readers for years to come.

32025419Decolonization: A Short History by Jan C. Jansen, Jürgen Osterhammel
The end of colonial rule in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean was one of the most important and dramatic developments of the twentieth century. In the decades after World War II, dozens of new states emerged as actors in global politics. Long-established imperial regimes collapsed, some more or less peacefully, others amid mass violence. This book takes an incisive look at decolonization and its long-term consequences, revealing it to be a coherent yet multidimensional process at the heart of modern history. Jan Jansen and J�rgen Osterhammel trace the decline of European, American, and Japanese colonial supremacy from World War I to the 1990s. Providing a comparative perspective on the decolonization process, they shed light on its key aspects while taking into account the unique regional and imperial contexts in which it unfolded. Jansen and Osterhammel show how the seeds of decolonization were sown during the interwar period and argue that the geopolitical restructuring of the world was intrinsically connected to a sea change in the global normative order. They examine the economic repercussions of decolonization and its impact on international power structures, its consequences for envisioning world order, and the long shadow it continues to cast over new states and former colonial powers alike.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 7.22.12 PMDecolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples Paperback by Linda Tuhiwai Smith
From the vantage point of the colonized, the term ‘research’ is inextricably linked with European colonialism; the ways in which scientific research has been implicated in the worst excesses of imperialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. Here, an indigenous researcher issues a clarion call for the decolonization of research methods. The book is divided into two parts. In the first, the author critically examines the historical and philosophical base of Western research. Extending the work of Foucault, she explores the intersections of imperialism, knowledge and research, and the different ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and methodologies as ‘regimes of truth’. Providing a history of knowledge from the Enlightenment to Postcoloniality, she also discusses the fate of concepts such as ‘discovery, ‘claiming’ and ‘naming’ through which the west has incorporated and continues to incorporate the indigenous world within its own web. The second part of the book meets the urgent need for people who are carrying out their own research projects, for literature which validates their frustrations in dealing with various western paradigms, academic traditions and methodologies, which continue to position the indigenous as ‘Other’. In setting an agenda for planning and implementing indigenous research, the author shows how such programmes are part of the wider project of reclaiming control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 7.26.59 PMFor Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook by Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, Michael Yellow Bird
For Indigenous Minds Only features Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists who have collaborated for the creation of a sequel to For Indigenous Eyes Only (SAR Press, 2005). The title reflects an understanding that decolonizing actions must begin in the mind, and that creative, consistent decolonized thinking shapes and empowers the brain, which in turn provides a major prime for positive change. Included in this book are discussions of global collapse, what to consider in returning to a land-based existence, demilitarization for imperial purposes and re-militarization for Indigenous purposes, survival strategies for tribal prisoners, moving beyond the nation-state model, a land-based educational model, personal decolonization, decolonization strategies for youth in custody, and decolonizing gender roles. As with For Indigenous Eyes Only, the authors do not intend to provide universal solutions for problems stemming from centuries of colonialism. Rather, they hope to facilitate and encourage critical thinking skills while offering recommendations for fostering community discussions and plans for purposeful community action. For Indigenous Minds Only will serve an important need within Indigenous communities for years to come.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 4.45.41 PMDecolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva
Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides. Though it seems counterintuitive, the philanthropic industry has evolved to mirror colonial structures and reproduces hierarchy, ultimately doing more harm than good. After 14 years in philanthropy, Edgar Villanueva has seen past the field’s glamorous, altruistic facade, and into its shadows: the old boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression among the “house slaves,” and those select few people of color who gain access.

66933The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of post-independence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other.

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Comprehensive US History

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.17.46 AMA People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Library Journal calls Howard Zinn’s iconic A People’s History of the United States “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those…whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.” Packed with vivid details and telling quotations, Zinn’s award-winning classic continues to revolutionize the way American history is taught and remembered. Frequent appearances in popular media such as The Sopranos, The Simpsons, Good Will Hunting, and the History Channel documentary The People Speak testify to Zinn’s ability to bridge the generation gap with enduring insights into the birth, development, and destiny of the nation.

31ti2mAE0fL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.50.01 PMStamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti–Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the lives of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and anti-racists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W. E. B. Du Bois to legendary anti–prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading pro-slavery and pro–civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America. As Kendi provocatively illustrates, racist thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Racist ideas were created and popularized in an effort to defend deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and to rationalize the nation’s racial inequities in everything from wealth to health. While racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much–needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers tools to expose them—and in the process, reason to hope.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.15.42 AMLies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen
Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past. In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today’s climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus’s historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.

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US Slavery

14894629How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith III
Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks-those that are honest about the past and those that are not-that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.

In a deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view-whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods—like downtown Manhattan—on which the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women and children has been deeply imprinted.

Informed by scholarship and brought alive by the story of people living today, Clint Smith’s debut work of nonfiction is a landmark work of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in understanding our country.

14894629The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation’s original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America’s later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 6.20.10 PM(Report) Equal Justice Initiative: Slavery in America: The Montgomery Slave Trade
Beginning in the 17th century, millions of African people were kidnapped, enslaved, and shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas under horrific conditions. Nearly two million people died at sea during the agonizing journey. For the next two centuries, the enslavement of black people in the United States created wealth, opportunity, and prosperity for millions of Americans. As American slavery evolved, an elaborate and enduring mythology about the inferiority of black people was created to legitimate, perpetuate, and defend slavery. This mythology survived slavery’s formal abolition following the Civil War.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.49.11 PMThe Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry
This book is the culmination of more than ten years of Berry’s exhaustive research on enslaved values, drawing on data unearthed from sources such as slave-trading records, insurance policies, cemetery records, and life insurance policies. Writing with sensitivity and depth, she resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples’ experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Reaching out from these pages, they compel the reader to bear witness to their stories, to see them as human beings, not merely commodities.

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Civil War to World War 2: Slavery by Another Name

2319745Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
In this groundbreaking historical exposé, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of “free” black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery. The neoslavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies that discouraged prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 6.20.10 PM(REPORT)Equal Justice Initiative Reports: Segregation in America
Segregation in America documents how millions of white Americans joined a mass movement of committed, unwavering, and often violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. EJI believes that understanding this mass opposition to racial equality, integration, and civil rights is central to confronting the continuing challenges of racial inequality today.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 6.20.10 PM(REPORT) Equal Justice Initiative: Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
The lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported campaign to enforce racial subordination and segregation. Lynching in America documents more than 4400 racial terror lynchings in the United States during the period between Reconstruction and World War II.

52444Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen
In this groundbreaking work, bestselling sociologist James W. Loewen, author of the national bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me, brings to light decades of hidden racial exclusion in America. In a provocative, sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, Loewen uncovers the thousands of “sundown towns”—almost exclusively white towns where it was an unspoken rule that blacks could not live there—that cropped up throughout the twentieth century, most of them located outside of the South. These towns used everything from legal formalities to violence to create homogenous Caucasian communities—and their existence has gone unexamined until now. For the first time, Loewen takes a long, hard look at the history, sociology, and continued existence of these towns, contributing an essential new chapter to the study of American race relations.

184612Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W.E.B. Du Bois
The pioneering work in the study of the role of Black Americans during Reconstruction by the most influential Black intellectual of his time.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.51.22 PMReconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 by Eric Foner
This “masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history” (New Republic) made history when it was originally published in 1988. It redefined how Reconstruction was viewed by historians and people everywhere in its chronicling of how Americans — black and white — responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. This “smart book of enormous strengths” (Boston Globe) has since gone on to become the classic work on the wrenching post-Civil War period — an era whose legacy reverberates still today in the United States.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.21.45 AMThe Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
The Souls of Black Folk is a 1903 work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology and a cornerstone of African-American literature. The book contains several essays on race, some of which the magazine Atlantic Monthly had previously published. To develop this work, Du Bois drew from his own experiences as an African American in American society. Outside of its notable relevance in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works in the field of sociology. In The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois used the term “double consciousness”, perhaps taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson (“The Transcendentalist” and “Fate”), applying it to the idea that black people must have two fields of vision at all times. They must be conscious of how they view themselves, as well as being conscious of how the world views them.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.53.20 PMThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 3.30.50 PMThe Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
The Mis-Education of the Negro is one of the most important books on education ever written. Carter G. Woodson shows us the weakness of Euro-centric based curriculums that fail to include African American history and culture. This system mis-educates the African American student, failing to prepare them for success and to give them an adequate sense of who they are within the system that they must live. Woodson provides many strong solutions to the problems he identifies. A must-read for anyone working in the education field.

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Housing and Banking Discrimination

32191706._SY475_The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

34758210The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran
When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than one percent of the United States’ total wealth. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money pursues the persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks. Studying these institutions over time, Mehrsa Baradaran challenges the myth that black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy. Instead, housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies created an inescapable, but hard to detect, economic trap for black communities and their banks.

9781108454988Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities
Segregation by Design draws on more than 100 years of quantitative and qualitative data from thousands of American cities to explore how local governments generate race and class segregation. Starting in the early twentieth century, cities have used their power of land use control to determine the location and availability of housing, amenities (such as parks), and negative land uses (such as garbage dumps). The result has been segregation – first within cities and more recently between them. Documenting changing patterns of segregation and their political mechanisms, Trounstine argues that city governments have pursued these policies to enhance the wealth and resources of white property owners at the expense of people of color and the poor. Contrary to leading theories of urban politics, local democracy has not functioned to represent all residents. The result is unequal access to fundamental local services – from schools, to safe neighborhoods, to clean water.

61VBF6vA7kL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

Business Improvement Districts and the Contradictions of Placemaking: BID Urbanism in Washington, D.C.
The “livable city,” the “creative city,” and more recently the “pop-up city” have become pervasive monikers that identify a new type of urbanism that has sprung up globally, produced and managed by the business improvement district and known colloquially by its acronym, BID. With this case study, Susanna F. Schaller draws on more than fifteen years of research to present a direct, focused engagement with both the planning history that shaped Washington, D.C.’s landscape and the intricacies of everyday life, politics, and planning practice as they relate to BIDs. Schaller offers a critical unpacking of the BID ethos, which draws on the language of economic liberalism (individual choice, civic engagement, localism, and grassroots development), to portray itself as color blind, democratic, and equitable.

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Criminal Justice System

6792458The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

20342617Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 5.42.20 PMPushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris
Just 16 percent of female students in the USA, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures. For four years Monique W. Morris, author of Black Stats, chronicled the experiences of black girls across America whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Morris shows how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 6.53.44 PM(Report) Vera Institute of Justice: An Unjust Burden The Disparate Treatment of Black Americans in the Criminal Justice System
The evidence for racial disparities in the criminal justice system is well documented. The disproportionate racial impact of certain laws and policies, as well as biased decision making by justice system actors, leads to higher rates of arrest and incarceration in low-income communities of color. However, there is no evidence that these widely disproportionate rates of criminal justice contact and incarceration are making us safer. This brief presents an overview of the ways in which America’s history of racism and oppression continues to manifest in the criminal justice system, and a summary of research demonstrating how the system perpetuates the disparate treatment of black people. The evidence presented here helps account for the hugely disproportionate impact of mass incarceration on millions of black people, their families, and their communities.

51WRbAMcPoL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States
This collection of reports and essays (the first collaboration between Truthout and Haymarket Books) explores police violence against black, brown, indigenous and other marginalized communities, miscarriages of justice, and failures of token accountability and reform measures. It also makes a compelling and provocative argument against calling the police.



Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 8.44.04 PMFrom the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton
In the United States today, one in every 31 adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men. How did the “land of the free” become the home of the world’s largest prison system? Challenging the belief that America’s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society at the height of the civil rights era. Johnson’s War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity. But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans’ role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime. The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police. Federal anti-crime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons. Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded. Anticipating future crime, policy makers urged states to build new prisons and introduced law enforcement measures into urban schools and public housing, turning neighborhoods into targets of police surveillance. By the 1980s, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality. The initiatives of that decade were less a sharp departure than the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike since the 1960s.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.42.15 PMAre Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis
With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.

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Medicine and Healthcare

41P5rG+e7+LMedical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington
Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

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Racial History of Welfare

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.13.50 AMWelfare Racism: Playing the Race Card Against America’s Poor by Kenneth Neubeck, Noel A. Cazenave
Welfare Racism analyzes the impact of racism on US welfare policy. Through historical and present-day analysis, the authors show how race-based attitudes, policy making, and administrative policies have long had a negative impact on public assistance programs. The book adds an important and controversial voice to the current welfare debates surrounding the recent legization that abolished the AFDC.


Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.15.14 AMWhen Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
In this “penetrating new analysis” (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally recasts our understanding of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. Through mechanisms designed by Southern Democrats that specifically excluded maids and farm workers, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. In the words of noted historian Eric Foner, “Katznelson’s incisive book should change the terms of debate about affirmative action, and about the last seventy years of American history.”

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.17.11 AMThe Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty by Jill Quadagno
Thirty years after Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the United States still lags behind most Western democracies in national welfare systems, lacking such basic programs as national health insurance and child care support. Some critics have explained the failure of social programs by citing our tradition of individual freedom and libertarian values, while others point to weaknesses within the working class. In The Color of Welfare, Jill Quadagno takes exception to these claims, placing race at the center of the “American Dilemma, ” as Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal did half a century ago. The “American creed” of liberty, justice, and equality clashed with a history of active racial discrimination, says Quadagno. It is racism that has undermined the War on Poverty, and America must come to terms with this history if there is to be any hope of addressing welfare reform today. From Reconstruction to Lyndon Johnson and beyond, Quadagno reveals how American social policy has continually foundered on issues of race. Drawing on extensive primary research, Quadagno shows, for instance, how Roosevelt, in need of support from southern congressmen, excluded African Americans from the core programs of the Social Security Act. Turning to Lyndon Johnson’s “unconditional war on poverty, ” she contends that though anti-poverty programs for job training, community action, health care, housing, and education accomplished much, they were not fully realized because they became inextricably intertwined with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which triggered a white backlash. Job training programs became affirmative action programs, programs to improve housing became programs to integratehousing, programs that began as community action to upgrade the quality of life in the cities were taken over by local civil rights groups. This shift of emphasis eventually alienated white, working-class Americans, who had some of the same needs – for health care, subsidized housing

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Political Right

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.07.38 AMDog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian F. Haney-Lopez
Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving “welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president. In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney Lopez offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.20.52 AMWhite Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House. Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.09.29 AMRacism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
The first edition of this best-selling book showed that alongside the subtle forms of discrimination typical of the post-Civil Rights era, new powerful ideology of “color-blind racism” has emerged. Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for and ultimately justify racial inequities. In the new edition Bonilla-Silva has added a chapter dealing with the future of racial stratification in America that goes beyond the white / black dichotomy. He argues that the U.S. is developing a more complex and apparently “plural” racial order that will mimic Latin American patterns of racial stratification. Another new chapter addresses a variety of questions from readers of the first edition. And he has updated the book throughout with new information, data, and references where appropriate. The book ends with a new Postscript, “What is to be Done (For Real?)”. As in the highly acclaimed first edition, Bonilla-Silva continues to challenge color-blind thinking.

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 8.24.48 AMGive Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in Ameria by Ari Berman
In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day. The act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet, fifty years later, we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power, with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth and with the Supreme Court declaring a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court. At this important moment in history, Give Us the Ballot provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.27.26 AMThe Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics
The Southern Strategy is traditionally understood as a Goldwater and Nixon-era effort by the Republican Party to win over disaffected white voters in the Democratic stronghold of the American South. To realign these voters with the GOP, the party abandoned its past support for civil rights and used racially coded language to capitalize on southern white racial angst. However, that decision was but one in a series of decisions the GOP made not just on race, but on feminism and religion as well, in what Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields call the “Long Southern Strategy.” In the wake of Second-Wave Feminism, the GOP dropped the Equal Rights Amendment from its platform and promoted traditional gender roles in an effort to appeal to anti-feminist white southerners, particularly women. And when the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention became increasingly fundamentalist and politically active, the GOP tied its fate to the Christian Right. With original, extensive data on national and regional opinions and voting behavior, Maxwell and Shields show why all three of those decisions were necessary for the South to turn from blue to red.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.06.49 AMWhite Identity Politics by Ashley Jardina
Amidst discontent over America’s growing diversity, many white Americans now view the political world through the lens of a racial identity. Whiteness was once thought to be invisible because of whites’ dominant position and ability to claim the mainstream, but today a large portion of whites actively identify with their racial group and support policies and candidates that they view as protecting whites’ power and status. In White Identity Politics, Ashley Jardina offers a landmark analysis of emerging patterns of white identity and collective political behavior, drawing on sweeping data. Where past research on whites’ racial attitudes emphasized out-group hostility, Jardina brings into focus the significance of in-group identity and favoritism. White Identity Politics shows that disaffected whites are not just found among the working class; they make up a broad proportion of the American public – with profound implications for political behavior and the future of racial conflict in America.

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21st Century Events

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.30.27 PMThey Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and A New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Lowery, Wesley
Conducting hundreds of interviews during the course of over one year reporting on the ground, Washington Post writer Wesley Lowery traveled from Ferguson, Missouri, to Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland; and then back to Ferguson to uncover life inside the most heavily policed, if otherwise neglected, corners of America today. In an effort to grasp the magnitude of the repose to Michael Brown’s death and understand the scale of the problem police violence represents, Lowery speaks to Brown’s family and the families of other victims other victims’ families as well as local activists. By posing the question, “What does the loss of any one life mean to the rest of the nation?” Lowery examines the cumulative effect of decades of racially biased policing in segregated neighborhoods with failing schools, crumbling infrastructure and too few jobs.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.32.58 PM(report) Economic Policy Institute: The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles
When we blame private prejudice, suburban snobbishness, and black poverty for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community. The federal government’s response to the Ferguson “Troubles” has been to treat the town as an isolated embarrassment, not a reflection of the nation in which it is embedded. The Department of Justice is investigating the killing of teenager Michael Brown and the practices of the Ferguson police department, but aside from the president’s concern that perhaps we have militarized all police forces too much, no broader inferences from the events of August 2014 are being drawn by policymakers. The conditions that created Ferguson cannot be addressed without remedying a century of public policies that segregated our metropolitan landscape. Remedies are unlikely if we fail to recognize these policies and how their effects have endured.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.38.21 PMFrom #BlackLivesMatter To Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists.


Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.40.35 PMFreedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 4.47.08 PMFatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts
A decade after the Human Genome Project proved that human beings are not naturally divided by race, the emerging fields of personalized medicine, reproductive technologies, genetic genealogy, and DNA databanks are attempting to resuscitate race as a biological category written in our genes. In this provocative analysis, leading legal scholar and social critic Dorothy Roberts argues that America is once again at the brink of a virulent outbreak of classifying population by race. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when America claims to be post-racial. Moving from an account of the evolution of race—proving that it has always been a mutable and socially defined political division supported by mainstream science—Roberts delves deep into the current debates, interrogating the newest science and biotechnology, interviewing its researchers, and exposing the political consequences obscured by the focus on genetic difference.

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Indigenous and Latinx History

390201491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

20588662An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

187149Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano
Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.

76401Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won.

34564996An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged revisionist history, arguing that Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa–otherwise known as “The Global South”–were crucial to the development of America as we know it. Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress, as exalted by widely-taught formulations like “Manifest Destiny” and “Jacksonian Democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms American history into one of the working class organizing themselves against imperialism. In precise detail, Ortiz traces this untold history from the Jim Crow-esque racial segregation of the Southwest, the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the 20th century, to May 1, 2006, International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers–Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth–united in the first “Day Without Immigrants” to prove the value of their labor.

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Asian History

23492717._SY475_The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee
An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured “coolies” who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II. Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States.

18014341The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority by Ellen D. Wu
The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the “yellow peril” to “model minorities”–peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values–in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Weaving together myriad perspectives, Wu provides an unprecedented view of racial reform and the contradictions of national belonging in the civil rights era. She highlights the contests for power and authority within Japanese and Chinese America alongside the designs of those external to these populations, including government officials, social scientists, journalists, and others. And she demonstrates that the invention of the model minority took place in multiple arenas, such as battles over zoot suiters leaving wartime internment camps, the juvenile delinquency panic of the 1950s, Hawaii statehood, and the African American freedom movement. Together, these illuminate the impact of foreign relations on the domestic racial order and how the nation accepted Asians as legitimate citizens while continuing to perceive them as indelible outsiders.

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Islamophobia

36297045American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear by Khaled A. Beydoun
The term “Islamophobia” may be fairly new, but irrational fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims is anything but. Though many speak of Islamophobia’s roots in racism, have we considered how anti-Muslim rhetoric is rooted in our legal system? Using his unique lens as a critical race theorist and law professor, Khaled A. Beydoun captures the many ways in which law, policy, and official state rhetoric have fueled the frightening resurgence of Islamophobia in the United States. Beydoun charts its long and terrible history, from the plight of enslaved African Muslims in the antebellum South and the laws prohibiting Muslim immigrants from becoming citizens to the ways the war on terror assigns blame for any terrorist act to Islam and the myriad trials Muslim Americans face in the Trump era. He passionately argues that by failing to frame Islamophobia as a system of bigotry endorsed and emboldened by law and carried out by government actors, U.S. society ignores the injury it inflicts on both Muslims and non-Muslims. Through the stories of Muslim Americans who have experienced Islamophobia across various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, Beydoun shares how U.S. laws shatter lives, whether directly or inadvertently. And with an eye toward benefiting society as a whole, he recommends ways for Muslim Americans and their allies to build coalitions with other groups.

355190Orientalism by Edward W. Said
In this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Said traces the origins of “orientalism” to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined “the orient” simply as “other than” the occident. This entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding. Essential, and still eye-opening, Orientalism remains one of the most important books written about our divided world.

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Food Justice

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.30.32 AMLand Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons by Justine M Williams, Eric Holt-Gimenez
In recent decades, the various strands of the food movement have made enormous strides in calling attention the many shortcomings and injustices of our food and agricultural system. Farmers, activists, scholars, and everyday citizens have also worked creatively to rebuild local food economies, advocate for food justice, and promote more sustainable, agroecological farming practices. However, the movement for fairer, healthier, and more autonomous food is continually blocked by one obstacle: land access. As long as land remains unaffordable and inaccessible to most people, we cannot truly transform the food system. With prefaces from leaders in the food justice and family farming movements, the book opens with a look at the legacies of white-settler colonialism in the southwestern United States. From there, it moves into a collectively-authored section on Black Agrarianism, which details the long history of land dispossession among Black farmers in the southeastern US, as well as the creative acts of resistance they have used to acquire land and collectively farm it. The next section, on gender, explores structural and cultural discrimination against women landowners in the Midwest and also role of “womanism” in land-based struggles. Next, a section on the cross-border implications of land enclosures and consolidations includes a consideration of what land justice could mean for farm workers in the US, followed by an essay on the challenges facing young and aspiring farmers. Finally, the book explores the urban dimensions of land justice and their implications for locally-autonomous food systems, and lessons from previous struggles for democratized land access.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.31.57 AMFarming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land byLeah Penniman
Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. At Soul Fire Farm, author Leah Penniman co-created the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion (BLFI) program as a container for new farmers to share growing skills in a culturally relevant and supportive environment led by people of color. Farming While Black organizes and expands upon the curriculum of the BLFI to provide readers with a concise guide to all aspects of small-scale farming, from business planning to preserving the harvest. Throughout the chapters Penniman uplifts the wisdom of the African diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described–from whole farm planning, soil fertility, seed selection, and agroecology, to using whole foods in culturally appropriate recipes, sharing stories of ancestors, and tools for healing from the trauma associated with slavery and economic exploitation on the land. Woven throughout the book is the story of Soul Fire Farm, a national leader in the food justice movement.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.34.30 AMFreedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement by Monica M. White
In May 1967, internationally renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer purchased forty acres of land in the Mississippi Delta, launching the Freedom Farms Cooperative (FFC). A community-based rural and economic development project, FFC would grow to over 600 acres, offering a means for local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers to pursue community wellness, self-reliance, and political resistance. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans–an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort. Freedom Farmers expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern black farmers and the organizations they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, this book reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.04.11 AMBlack Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.by Ashante M Reese
In this book, Ashante M. Reese makes clear the structural forces that determine food access in urban areas, highlighting Black residents’ navigation of and resistance to unequal food distribution systems. Linking these local food issues to the national problem of systemic racism, Reese examines the history of the majority-Black Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Reese not only documents racism and residential segregation in the nation’s capital but also tracks the ways transnational food corporations have shaped food availability. By connecting community members’ stories to the larger issues of racism and gentrification, Reese shows there are hundreds of Deanwoods across the country.  Reese’s geographies of self-reliance offer an alternative to models that depict Black residents as lacking agency, demonstrating how an ethnographically grounded study can locate and amplify nuances in how Black life unfolds within the context of unequal food access.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 11.36.29 AMThe Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming by Natasha Bowens
Imagine the typical American farmer. Many people visualize sun-roughened skin, faded overalls, and calloused hands—hands that are usually white. While there’s no doubt the growing trend of organic farming and homesteading is changing how the farmer is portrayed in mainstream media, farmers of color are still largely left out of the picture. The Color of Food seeks to rectify this. By recognizing the critical issues that lie at the intersection of race and food, this stunning collection of portraits and stories challenges the status quo of agrarian identity. Author, photographer, and biracial farmer Natasha Bowens’s quest to explore her own roots in the soil leads her to unearth a larger story, weaving together the seemingly forgotten history of agriculture for people of color, the issues they face today, and the culture and resilience they bring to food and farming. The Color of Food teaches us that the food and farm movement is about more than buying local and protecting our soil. It is about preserving culture and community, digging deeply into the places we’ve overlooked, and honoring those who have come before us. Blending storytelling, photography, oral history, and unique insight, these pages remind us that true food sovereignty means a place at the table for everyone.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.12.05 AMForked: A New Standard for American Dining by Saru Jayaraman
Forked is an enlightening examination of what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income? As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. Forked offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 11.12.57 PMFast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That’s a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning. Schlosser’s myth-shattering survey stretches from California’s subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast food’s flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths — from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 11.18.57 PMCowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret by Keegan Kuhn, Kip Andersen
Discover the biggest issue in conservation today. This companion to the documentary Cowspiracy explores the impacts of the most environmentally destructive industry on the planet: animal agriculture.  The award-winning documentary Cowspiracy presents alarming truths about the effects of animal agriculture on the planet. One of the leading causes of deforestation, greenhouse gas production, water use, species extinction, ocean dead-zones, and a host of other ills, animal agriculture is a major threat to the future of all species, and one of the environmental industry’s best-kept secrets.

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Palestinian Rights

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.26.33 AMThe Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé
Since the Holocaust, it has been almost impossible to hide large-scale crimes against humanity. In our communicative world, few modern catastrophes are concealed from the public eye. And yet, Ilan Pappe unveils, one such crime has been erased from the global public memory: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. But why is it denied, and by whom? The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine offers an investigation of this mystery.


Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.30.33 AMThe Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi
A landmark history of one hundred years of war waged against the Palestinians from the foremost US historian of the Middle East, told through pivotal events and family history. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials and the reports of generations of family members—mayors, judges, scholars, diplomats, and journalists—The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine upends accepted interpretations of the conflict, which tend, at best, to describe a tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same territory. Instead, Khalidi traces a hundred years of colonial war on the Palestinians, waged first by the Zionist movement and then Israel, but backed by Britain and the United States, the great powers of the age. He highlights the key episodes in this colonial campaign, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, from Israel’s 1982 invation of Lebanon to the endless and futile peace process.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.31.57 AMJustice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine by Noura Erakat
Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’s most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel’s settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel’s military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord’s two-state solution is now dead letter. Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures–from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza–Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel’s interests than the Palestinians’. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable. Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.33.09 AMTen Myths about Israel by Ilan Pappé
What are the myths–and reality–behind the state of Israel?
Ilan Pappe is one of the most outspoken and radical thinkers writing on the history of Israel. In this groundbreaking and controversial book he examines ten of the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. Once and for all he explodes the myths that justify the rights of the Israeli state, asking,
– Was Palestine an empty land at the time of the Balfour Declaration?
– Were the Jews a people without a land?
– Is there no difference between Zionism and Judaism?
– Is Zionism not a colonial project of occupation?
– Did the Palestinians leave their homeland voluntarily in 1948?
– Was the June 1967 War a war of -no choice-?
– Is Israel the only democracy in the Middle East?
– Were the failed Oslo negotiations of 1992 the PLO’s fault?
– Was it a question of national security to bomb Gaza?
– Is the Two States Solution still achievable?
Written for the general reader, this book will prompt a huge, and necessary, debate.

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LBGTQ Rights

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.09.42 AMA Queer History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski
Queer history didn’t start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years. It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it’s rarely taught in schools or commemorated in other ways. A Queer History of the United States for Young People corrects this and demonstrates that LGBTQ people have long been vital to shaping our understanding of what America is today.

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Disability Rights History

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 10.08.23 AMA Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen
Disability is not just the story of someone we love or the story of whom we may become; rather it is undoubtedly the story of our nation. Covering the entirety of US history from pre-1492 to the present, A Disability History of the United States is the first book to place the experiences of people with disabilities at the center of the American narrative. In many ways, it’s a familiar telling. In other ways, however, it is a radical repositioning of US history. By doing so, the book casts new light on familiar stories, such as slavery and immigration, while breaking ground about the ties between nativism and oralism in the late nineteenth  century and the role of ableism in the development of democracy. A Disability History of the United States pulls from primary-source documents and social histories to retell American history through the eyes, words, and impressions of the people who lived it. As historian and disability scholar Nielsen argues, to understand disability history isn’t to narrowly focus on a series of individual triumphs but rather to examine mass movements and pivotal daily events through the lens of varied experiences. Throughout the book, Nielsen deftly illustrates how concepts of disability have deeply shaped the American experience—from deciding who was allowed to immigrate to establishing labor laws and justifying slavery and gender discrimination. Included are absorbing—at times horrific—narratives of blinded slaves being thrown overboard and women being involuntarily sterilized, as well as triumphant accounts of disabled miners organizing strikes and disability rights activists picketing Washington.

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