Books & Readings on African American History/Actionable Items


This is a preliminary list of resources from my research and teaching (and some recommended to me, some still in process of reading). I share it only as one way to access the enormous amount of information available to us to better understand the past that continues to shape our present and to be allies and advocates in ending white supremacy and racism.

Primary Sources

Beals, Melba Pattillo. March Forward, Girl. 2018

Carson, Clayborne et al. eds. The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 1991

Cotes, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. 2015

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. We Were EIght Years in Power: An American Tragedy. 2017

Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage, My Freedom. 1855.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk.1903

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. 1861.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 1968

The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders Report (aka Kerner Report), 1968 

Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. 1853

Washington, Booker T. Up From Slavery. 1901.

Wells, Ida B. Crusade for Justice. 1970

West, Cornel ed. The Radical King. 2015

X, Malcolm and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 1965


Secondary Sources

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. 2012

Anderson, Carol. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. 2017

Banaji, Mahzarin R. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. 2016

Bell, Derrick. Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism. 2018

Bell, Richard. Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and the Astonishing Odyssey Home. 2019

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic. 2014 

Farmer, Ashley D. Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era. 2017

Kendi, Ibram X. “The American Nightmare: To Be Black and Conscious of Anti-Black Racism is to Stare into the Mirror of Your Own Extinction.” The Atlantic. 2020 

Johnson, Walter. “On Agency.” Journal of Social History. 37, no. 1 (Autumn 2003), 113-124.

Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul. 1999.

Kendi, Ibram X. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. 2017

Leamer, Laurence. The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan. 2016.

McRae, Elizabeth Gillespie. Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy. 2018.

Mills, Kay. This Little Light of Mine. 1993.

Morgan, Jennifer. Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery. 2004

Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement. 2005

Ransby, Barbara. Making All Black Lives Matter. 2018

Ritterhouse, Jennifer. Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race. 2006

Self, Robert O. American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland. 2005

Sinha, Manisha. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. 2016

Tyson, Timothy B. The Blood of Emmett Till. 2017

Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. 1955


Readings to Inspire Action

DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism 2018

Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. 2019

Pollock, Mica. Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School. 2008

Saad, Layla F. Me & White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor. 2020.

Singleton, Glenn E. Courageous Conversations about Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools. 2014

Solomon, Ayiba and Kenrya Rankin. How We Fight White Supremacy. 2019


Documentaries, Videos, & Podcasts

13th. Netflix. 2016

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. PBS. 2015 (available on Kanopy)

Eyes on the Prize, PBS, 1987

“Why Are Cities Still So Segregated.” NPR. 2018. 

“American Police,” NPR: Throughline. June 4, 2020. 



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