This partial book list has been compiled from suggestions by many friends of BMPC; opinions of the books may vary widely according to the reader. Please read books on this list and then find a thought partner or two with whom to discuss them.
Books are arranged by date. Scroll to the end for novels and memoirs.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla Saad, 2020.
Good White Racist? Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice, Kerry Connelly, 2020.
White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, Robert P. Jones, 2020.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson, 2020.
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGhee, 2021.
On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed, 2021.
Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm, Robin DiAngelo, 2021.
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, Ibram X. Kendi, 2021.
White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, Anthea Butler, 2021.
Race in America: Christians Respond to the Crisis, David Maxwell & Laura M Cheifetz, 2021.
How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice, Jemar Tisby, 2021.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, 2010.
The History of White People, Nell Irvin Painter, 2010. Painter, an historian, covers more than 2,000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific and political ends.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson, 2010.
Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, Paul Kivel, 2011.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, 2011. Riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, Frances E. Kendall, 2012.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James H. Cone, 2013. The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally-charged symbols in the history of the African American community. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk.
Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century, Monique W. Morris, 2014.
Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American, G. Cristina Mora, 2014.
Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine, 2014. A provocative meditation on race, recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media.
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015. Pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, Jeff Hobbs, 2015.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson, 2015.
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Edward E. Baptist, 2016.
The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, William J. Barber II, & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, 2016.
Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life, David Billings, 2016.
Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi, 2016.
Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, Mark Lamont Hill, 2016.
They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement, Wesley Lowery, 2016.
Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, 2017.
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson, 2017.
The Blood of Emmett Till, Timothy Tyson, 2017.
Choke Hold: Policing Black Me; A Renegade Prosecutor’s Radical Thoughts on How to Disrupt the System, Paul Butler, 2017.
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2017
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, Michael Eric Dyson, 2017.
The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy, Andrea Flynn, 2017.
The Origin of Others, Toni Morrison, 2017. America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging.
…But I’m Not Racist!: Tools for Well-Meaning Whites, Dr. Kathy O’Bear, 2017.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein, 2017.
30 Days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story That Exposed the Jim Crow South, Bill Steigerwals, 2017.
A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools, Rachel Devlin, 2018.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo, foreword by Michael Eric Dyson, 2018.
Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, 2018.
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, Jennifer Harvey and Tim Wise, 2018.
These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore, 2018. Offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history.
Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs, David R. Roediger, 2018.
The Colored Waiting Room: Empowering the Original and the New Civil Rights Movements: Conversations Between an MLK Jr. Confidant and a Modern-Day Activist, Kevin Shird and Nelson Malden, 2018.
The Person YOU Meant to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, Dolly Chugh, 2018.
Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, 2018.
Thick: And Other Essays, Tressie McMillan Cottom, 2019. In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, the author embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.
Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights, Doug Jones, 2019.
The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, Jemar Tisby, 2019.
Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US, Lenny Duncan, 2019.
How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi, 2019.
Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Ruha Benjamin, 2019.
Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, Diane McWhorter, 2001.
Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, 2002
Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, Frank H. Wu, 2002.
Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Inequality in America, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, 2003.
Are Italians White? How Race is Made in America, Jennifer Guglielmo, 2003.
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Harriet A. Washington, 2006.
The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, Bob Zellner; w/Constance Curry, 2008.
A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Ronald Takaki, 2008.
How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, Moustafa Bayoumi, 2009.
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, Douglas A. Blackmon, 2009.
Race Matters, Cornell West, 1993.
The Invention of the White Race; Vol I: Racial Oppression and Social Control, and Vol II: The Origins of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, Theodore W. Allen, 1994 and 1997.
How The Irish Became White, Noel Ignatiev, 1995.
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen, 1995.
God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights, Charles Marsh, 1997.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum, 2017 (orig. pub.1997).
Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans, Updated and Revised Edition, by Ronald Takaki, 1998.
1980s and earlier
Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: A Tragedy of Race and Medicine, James H. Jones, 1982.
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Alice Walker, 1983. Alice Walker speaks out as a black woman, writer, mother, and womanist in 36 pieces ranging from the personal to the political.
Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families, J. Anthony Lukas, 1986.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, Taylor Branch, 1988.
The Constitution of the United States of America - www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript
The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois, 1903 (pub. 1953)
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, 1992 (orig. pub. 1963)
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood," and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.
Mudbound, Hillary Jordan, 2009. A gripping and exquisitely rendered story of forbidden love, betrayal, and murder, set against the brutality of the Jim Crow South.
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi, 2017. Follows the parallel paths of two Ghanaian sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas, 2017. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson, 2017. Heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel, Jesmyn Ward, 2018. A majestic and unforgettable family story and “an odyssey through rural Mississippi’s past and present.
Americanah: A Novel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2013. A remarkable novel of race, love and identity.
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev: A Novel, Dawnie Walton, 2021. A novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.
Lakota Woman, Mary Crow Dog, 2011 (orig. pub. 1990). A story of death, of determination against all odds, of the cruelties perpetuated against American Indians, and of the Native American struggle for rights.
Blood Done Sign My Name, Timothy B. Tyson, 2004. The author’s retelling of his personal encounter as a child with killing and racial unrest in 1970’s Oxford, North Carolina.
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, Tim Wise, 2004.
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, Debby Irving, 2014.
March Trilogy, John Lewis, 2016. Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the late Congressman John Lewis in this graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement
Growing Up Black in White, Kevin D. Hoffman, CreateSpace, 2017. Born into the racially-charged Detroit of 1967 to a white mother and a black father, the author was placed into foster care and then adopted by a white minister and his wife, the parents of three biological children.
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, Daniel Hill, 2017.
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, Anthony Ray Hinton, 2018
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, asha bandele, 2018.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown, 2018