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Black Lives Matter Reading List

By February 5, 2015December 7th, 2018No Comments

Formerly known as the Ferguson Reads List, this reading list is intended to provide some history and context to the recent protests. This is a community curated list of books that explore race, not only in St. Louis, but America as a whole. By no means a full comprehensive list, here are a few to get you started on the trail of understanding what’s happening. For more information, please visit

Children’s Books

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit‐Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford

Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom by Virginia Hamilton

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams‐Garcia Civil Rights History

Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy by Bruce Watson

Lynching of Cleo Wright by Dominic J. Capeci JR

The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell

The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson

March, Book 1 by John Lewis

Contempt of Court: The Turn‐of‐the‐Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism by Mark Curriden

Freedom’s Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration by Margaret Garb

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund

S. Morgan

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls Lanier

Olivia’s Story: The Conspiracy of Heroes behind Shelley v Kraemer by Jeffery Copeland

Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King Jr. by David Chappell

Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis that Shocked the Nation by Elizabeth Jacoway

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America by Elliot Jaspin

Medical Appartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington

Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 by William Tuttle

Contemporary Civil Rights Issues

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

by Eugene Robinson

The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t and Why by Jabari Asim

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel

The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Y. Davis

Creative Community Organizing: A Guide for Rabble‐Rousers, Activists, and Quiet Lovers of Justice by Si Kahn

The House That Race Built edited by Wahneema Lubiano

Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty‐First Century by Monique W. Morris

Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect by Robert J. Sampson

The News: A User’s Manual by Alain De Botton Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief about

Racism by Jealous T. Ann
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the

Wealth Gap by Mat Taibbi

The Fragile Mind: How It Has Produced and Unwittingly Perpetuates America’s Tragic Disparities by Jarik Conrad

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It by Shelly Tochluk

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney‐Lopez


The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta‐Nehisi Coates

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir by Michele Norris

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris

March, Book 1 by John Lewis
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
At the Elbows of My Elders by Gail Milissa Grant A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls Lanier Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Novels and Stories Exploring Race

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi Americahah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
A Taste of Honey by Jabari Asim

Betsey Brown by Ntozake Shange
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines Native Son by Richard Wright
King Hedley II by August Wilson
Shedding from the Inside by Kalonna Carpenter Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

Policing and Incarceration

Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander Losing Legitimacy by Gary Lafree
Mass Incarceration on Trial by Jonathan Simon Suspicion Nation by Lisa Bloom

The Central Park Five by Sarah Burns

Arbitrary Justice by Angela J. Davis

Life in Prison by Stanley “Tookie” Williams

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin

Why Are So Many Black Men in Prison? By Demico Boothe

Race in St. Louis History

Never Been a Time by Harper Barnes

Mapping Decline by Colin Gordon

Grassroots at the Gateway by Clarence Lang

That’s the Way it Was by Vida “Sister” Goldman Prince

Olivia’s Story by Jeffrey Copeland


IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.