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Black Lives Matter: a non-fiction reading list
Posted by Elisa on June 2, 2020
Historic Black Lives Matter protests are happening across the United States and around the world. The time is now to learn about the the history and modern reality of anti-Black racism. The following titles are all available in our print collection, but when you click the link, you'll see many are available in eBook as well.
Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates “Written as a letter to the author's teenage son, this is 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 ... 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.” -- Publisher. Place a hold.
When they call you a terrorist : a Black Lives Matter memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors “Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin's killer went free, Patrisse's outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love, to tell the country - and the world - that Black Lives Matter.” Place a hold.
Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Keni "Americans like to insist that we are living in a postracial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, racist ideas in this country have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. 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. … 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 us the tools we need to expose them--and in the process, gives us reason to hope." Place a hold.
The fire is upon us : James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the debate over race in America by Nicholas Buccola "On February 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual. The topic was "the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro", and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. Nicholas Buccola's The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America's racial divide today." Place a hold.
Tears we cannot stop : a sermon to white America by Michael Eric Dyson "Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, 'Nothing.' Michael Eric Dyson believes he was wrong. Now he responds to that question. If society is to make real racial progress, people must face difficult truths, including being honest about how Black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted." Place a hold.
I am not your negro (2016 Documentary, DVD) by James Baldwin, screenwriter, on-screen participant "Master documentary filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and a flood of rich archival material. A journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter." Place a hold.
How to be an anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi. Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. 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. Place a hold.
The skin we're in : a year of Black resistance and power by Desmond Cole "In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis…Cole creates a comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial, and unsparingly honest, The Skin We’re In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians." Place a hold.
The black battalion : 1916-1920 : Canada's best kept military secret by Calvin W. Ruck "Black military heritage in Canada is still generally unknown and unwritten. Most Canadians have no idea that Blacks served, fought, and died on European battlefields, all in the name of freedom. The story of the overt racist treatment of Black volunteers is a shameful chapter in Canadian history. It does, however, represent an important part of the Black legacy and the Black experience. It is a story worth reporting and worth sharing. In this thirtieth-anniversary edition of Ruck's celebrated history of Nova Scotia's No. 2 Construction Battalion, known as the Black Battalion, the original text and over 60 photographs and documents is presented for a whole new generation of readers, along with a new foreword and photographs from journalist Lindsay Ruck, Calvin W. Ruck's proud granddaughter." Place a hold.
For young readers:
Miles to go for freedom : segregation & civil rights in the Jim Crow years by Linda Barrett Osborne "Told through unforgettable first-person accounts, photographs, and other primary sources, this book is an overview of racial segregation and early civil rights efforts in the United States from the 1890s to 1954, a period known as the Jim Crow years. Multiple perspectives are examined as the book looks at the impact of legal segregation and discrimination on the day-to-day life of black and white Americans across the country. Complete with a bibliography and an index, this book is an important addition to black history books for young readers." Place a hold.
They called themselves the K.K.K. : the birth of an American terrorist group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti "Boys, let us get up a club. With those words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend's mansion, pulled pillowcases over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866. The six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan, and, all too quickly, their club grew into the self-proclaimed Invisible Empire with secret dens spread across the South. This is the story of how a secret terrorist group took root in America's democracy. Filled with chilling and vivid personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, this account from Newbery Honor-winning author Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a book to read and remember." Place a hold.
Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom by Virginia Hamilton "Recounts the journey of Black slaves to freedom via the underground railroad, an extended group of people who helped fugitive slaves in many ways." Place a hold.
Viola Desmond won't be budged! by Jody Nyasha Warner "In Nova Scotia, in 1946, an usher in a movie theatre told Viola Desmond to move from her main floor seat up to the balcony. She refused to budge. Viola knew she was being asked to move because she was black. After all, she was the only black person downstairs. All the other black people were up in the balcony. In no time at all, the police arrived and took Viola to jail. The next day she was charged and fined, but she vowed to continue her struggle against such unfair rules. She refused to accept that being black meant she couldn't sit where she wanted. Viola's determination gave strength and inspiration to her community at the time. She is an unsung hero of the North American struggle against injustice and racial discrimination whose story deserves to be widely known." Place a hold.
Curbside pickup of holds is now available at L.E. Shore Library. Details here.