Today, I am sharing my personal anti-racist reading list featuring books that I have read in undergrad and graduate school, and also ones that have been personally of interest to me. While I am not an expert, it is important to continuously practice allyship, and the books on this reading list help aid in that. I will also be including books that I have added to my personal reading list that I will read this year. I also hope you will continue to have crucial conversations and engage in the work so that we ensure lasting progress and change.
An Anti-Racist Reading List
My Personal Anti-Racist Reading List: What I Have Read
- From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton
- The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives by Bryan Simon
- The Black and the Blue by Matthew Horace
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
- Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso by Kali Nicole Gross
- Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B. Tyson
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
My Personal Anti-Racist Reading List: What is Still on My List
- One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
- How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- We Are All Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
- The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know by Tema Okun
- They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
- Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History by Vron Ware
- Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South by Catherine Fosl
- The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
- Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
While the titles above are non-fiction, there are some fictional titles I either recommend or have on my reading list for this year. If you’re into fiction, check these out! I’ll be writing a dedicated post for fictional titles that are related to this topic, but this is a great place to get started.
- The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
While this is a difficult and uncomfortable topic, systemic racism does not go away by ignoring it. I am optimistic seeing the conversations and shares on social media and blog posts over the past several days, and want to acknowledge that this is not a fad. I recognize my privilege and my own room to grow, and I also am excited to share some of the knowledge I gained from studying history in both undergrad and grad school. By understanding how deeply this is rooted, we can learn and use our privileges and platforms for a force of good, while being an ally to those who are not given the same space and voice.
P.S. Here is a list of 22 Black-owned independent bookstores to support when purchasing books. You can also check out your local public library for downloadable books! Chicago folks, check out this reading list for the Chicago Public Library here.
What’s on your anti-racist reading list? Let me know in a comment below!
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