Yesterday I was going through my email and I saw I had one from an independent bookstore that I recently purchased from. I was immediately grabbed by the headline, Anti Racist Reading (which is why I used it as the title for this post) and when I clicked on it I found a wonderfully curated list of books. I will be sharing the link to the various lists below and each one will take you to Word bookstores website. If you are able, I hope you will consider buying one or more of the books you find, especially since they are donating a portion of their sales this week and next to a bail project fund. Or if you just want to use this list to find some thought provoking books that you want to read and then use your library to read them or request your library to get a copy. Either way you are helping so much to keep the Black Lives Matter message going and hopefully by sharing and talking about these books we can all encourage more people to read them!
Before I share the lists I thought I would share the books that I bought last night. There were so many more that I saw that I want to get but these two caught my eye the most. Also, I know I buy lots of books and then let them sit pretty on my shelves but I will be intentional with these books and they are very high priority for me.
From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.
As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,” she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.”
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.
“Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.”
As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status–much like their grandparents before them.
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.
*This first list is the one I personally found the most intriguing and will be eventually collecting more books that are featured.
*These next three lists are also books that I am looking into purchasing for my boys. My husband and I believe that is important that we don’t shield them from things so they have watched the news along with us and we have answered any questions they might have. However, as readers, we all know that reading a book where a character is faced with turmoil or pain is often a more impactful way of learning.