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Memorial Hall Library

A Racial Justice Reading List

Here are some nonfiction books about racism in the United States and its ongoing, deadly impact. These books are available as ebooks from either Overdrive (Libby) or Hoopla. (If you need help getting started with ebooks, check out the tutorials available on this page or contact us with questions!)

The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness (Available on Hoopla)
The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness (Available on Hoopla)
by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. This book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that 'we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.' By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control-relegating millions to a permanent second-class status-even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a 'call to action.'

	I'm still here : Black dignity in a world made for whiteness (Available on Overdrive)
I'm still here : Black dignity in a world made for whiteness (Available on Overdrive)
by Austin Channing Brown

The author's first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when her parents told her they named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. She grew up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, and has spent her life navigating America's racial divide as a writer, a speaker, and an expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion. While so many institutions claim to value diversity in their mission statements, many fall short of matching actions to words. Brown highlights how white middle-class evangelicalism has participated in the rise of racial hostility, and encourages the reader to confront apathy and recognize God's ongoing work in the world.

	Between the world and me (Available on Overdrive)
Between the world and me (Available on Overdrive)
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Told through the author's own evolving understanding of the subject over the course of his life comes a bold and personal investigation into America's racial history and its contemporary echoes.

	White fragility : why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism (Available on Overdrive)
White fragility : why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism (Available on Overdrive)
by Robin J DiAngelo

Groundbreaking book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when discussing racism that serve to protect their positions and maintain racial inequality.

	Tears we cannot stop : a sermon to white America (Available on Overdrive)
Tears we cannot stop : a sermon to white America (Available on Overdrive)
by Michael Eric Dyson

A call for change in the United States argues that racial progress can only be achieved after facing difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, and discounted.

	Raising white kids : bringing up children in a racially unjust America (Available on Hoopla)
Raising white kids : bringing up children in a racially unjust America (Available on Hoopla)
by Jennifer Harvey

Discusses how parents of white children should navigate the topic of race in the United States.

	How to be an antiracist (Available on Overdrive)
How to be an antiracist (Available on Overdrive)
by Ibram X. Kendi

A best-selling author, National Book Award-winner and professor combines ethics, history, law and science with a personal narrative to describe how to move beyond the awareness of racism and contribute to making society just and equitable.

	Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America (Available on Hoopla)
Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America (Available on Hoopla)
by Ibram X Kendi

A comprehensive history of anti-black racism focuses on the lives of five major players in American history and highlights the debates that took place between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and anti-racists.

	When they call you a terrorist : a Black Lives Matter memoir (Available on Hoopla)
When they call you a terrorist : a Black Lives Matter memoir (Available on Hoopla)
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

A lyrical memoir by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement urges readers to understand the movement's position of love, humanity and justice, challenging perspectives that have negatively labeled the movement's activists while calling for essential political changes. Co-written by the award-winning author of The Prisoner's Wife.

	They can't kill us all : the story of the struggle for Black lives (Available on Overdrive)
They can't kill us all : the story of the struggle for Black lives (Available on Overdrive)
by Wesley Lowery

A behind-the-scenes account of the #blacklivesmatter movement shares insights into the young men and women behind it, citing the racially charged controversies that have motivated members and the economic, political, and personal histories that inform its purpose.

	So you want to talk about race (Available on Hoopla)
So you want to talk about race (Available on Hoopla)
by Ijeoma Oluo

A Seattle-based writer, editor and speaker tackles the sensitive, hyper-charged racial landscape in current America, discussing the issues of privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word.

	Me and white supremacy : combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor (Available on Hoopla)
Me and white supremacy : combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor (Available on Hoopla)
by Layla F Saad

The host of the “Good Ancestor” podcast presents an updated and expanded edition of the Instagram challenge that launched a cultural movement about taking responsibility for first-person racism to stop unconsciously inflicting pain on others.