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Link to the 2021 Celebrating Black Authors and Main Characters Booklist

 

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

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.

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Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women.

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Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.

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My Vanishing Country: A Memoir by Bakari Sellers

Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.

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They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

A deeply reported book that brings alive the quest for justice in the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray, offering both unparalleled insight into the reality of police violence in America and an intimate, moving portrait of those working to end it

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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young

From the cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black (and male) in America.

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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American.

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White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.

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Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams

Celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams offers a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country.

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Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl

Physician Jonathan M. Metzl's quest to understand the health implications of "backlash governance" leads him across America's heartland. Interviewing a range of everyday Americans, he examines how racial resentment has fueled pro-gun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. And he shows these policies' costs: increasing deaths by gun suicide, rising dropout rates, and falling life expectancies.

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Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

From one of the world's leading experts on unconscious racial bias, a personal examination of one of the central controversies and culturally powerful issues of our time, and its influence on contemporary race relations and criminal justice.

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Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America by Sharmila Sen

A memoir manifesto about race, immigration and assimilation; how an Indian American woman navigated through her journey into the heart of "not whiteness."

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America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis

Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians--urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.

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Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell

In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. Through insider accounts and access to key players, this definitive account reveals the dramatic and previously unreported events behind Obergefell v Hodges and the lives at its center.

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When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones

By turns tender and uproarious--and written entirely in his own words--When We Rise is Jones' account of his remarkable life as a hero to the LQBTQ community and a vibrantly voiced memoir of a full and transformative American life.

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I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America.

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So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape--from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement--offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngzoi Adichie

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In 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, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.

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Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

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Becoming by Michelle Obama

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

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One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling--and timely--history of voter suppression in America, with a foreword by Senator Dick Durbin.

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The Making of a Dream: How a Group of Young Undocumented Immigrants Helped Change What it Means to be American by Laura Wides-Muñoz

A journalist chronicles the next chapter in civil rights—the story of a movement and a nation, witnessed through the poignant and inspiring experiences of five young undocumented activists who are transforming society’s attitudes toward one of the most contentious political matters roiling America today: immigration.

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When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America—and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free.

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How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

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This is the Fire by Don Lemon

The host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon is more popular than ever. As America's only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon and his daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America's systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them"

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You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

A writer and performer on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and her sister write with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism.

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White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

Taking us from the slave era, when white women fought in court to keep "ownership" of their slaves, through the centuries of colonialism, when they offered a soft face for brutal tactics, to the modern workplace, White Tears/Brown Scars tells a charged story of white women's active participation in campaigns of oppression. It offers a long overdue validation of the experiences of women of color.

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