Anti-Racist Reading List

In a recent message to the university community, President Jahanian stated that “it is up to each one of us — no matter our background — to confront and dismantle racism and injustice wherever they exist.”

Consider the Libraries a trusted source for educational resources to learn more about racism and the practice of anti-racism. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our print materials are temporarily unavailable but we’ve curated a list of digital materials below that are all available to access immediately.

This list of titles was informed by the anti-racist reading list curated by Ibram X. Kendi and posted on the Chicago Public Library website. Each title was selected due to format and availability in the University Libraries’ collection.


Alexander, Michelle., and Cornel West. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Revised edition (2012), New Press, The, 2012.
Undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S. - Birmingham News

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. First edition., Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of “Between the World and Me”, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading. - Toni Morrison

DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. 2018.
The New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

Fasching-Varner, Kenneth J., et al. Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice : A Writing Wrong. Brill, 2014, doi:10.1007/978-94-6209-842-8.
“Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice: Writing Wrong” is the first comprehensive text to analyze not only the killing of Trayvon Martin, but the implications of this event for the state of race in the United States.

Franklin, John Hope. The Color Line : Legacy for the Twenty-First Century. University of Missouri Press, 1993.
Anyone interested in understanding or improving America needs to read this powerful little book. Highest recommendation.- Library Journal

Hattery, Angela, and Earl Smith. Policing Black Bodies : How Black Lives Are Surveilled and How to Work for Change. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018.
Intended to provoke controversial and uncomfortable discussion, Hattery and Smith's book focuses on what they expose as America's deeply rooted culture, history and ideology of deliberately violating black bodies in the name of policing. Verdict: An essential work that advances an acute awareness of our responsibility to make society equitable for all. - Library Journal, Starred Review

Hayes, Cleveland, and Nicholas D. Hartlep. Unhooking from Whiteness: The Key to Dismantling Racism in the United States. Brill, 2013, doi:10.1007/978-94-6209-377-5.
The purpose of “Unhooking from Whiteness: The Key to Dismantling Racism in the United States” is to reconsider the ways and strategies in which antiracist scholars do their work, as well as to provide pragmatic ways in which people—White and of color—can build cross-racial, cross-communal, and cross-institutional coalitions to fight White supremacy.

Kaplan, H. Roy. The Myth of Post-Racial America: Searching for Equality in the Age of Materialism. Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011.
“The Myth of Post-Racial America” provides a history of race and racism in the United States. These concepts became integral parts of American society through social, psychological, and political decisions, which are documented so readers can learn about the origin of myths and stereotypes that have created schisms in our society from its founding to the present day.

Kanopy Streaming Video:

Adebonojo, Henry, et al. I Am Not Your Negro. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2017.
Using James Baldwin's unfinished final manuscript, “Remember This House”, this documentary follows the lives and successive assassinations of three of the author's friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Brown, Elaine, et al. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. Theatrical version., PBS Distribution, 2016.
"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.

Davis, Angela Y., et al. Black Is-- Black Ain’t: A Personal Journey through Black Identity. Docurama films, 2008.
A frank and honest look at black identity in America. Uses incisive storytelling and commentary from prominent black intellectuals, including Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, and Cornel West. Meant to stir provocative debate and add reinforcement to a bold vision for a humanity that embraces all people. Explodes the myth that black America is monolithic.

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