Antiracist Reading List
"No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage." - Ibram X. Kendi
The booklist below includes a mix of titles that educate about racism, antiracism, white fragility, and more. Thank you to everyone who has suggested additional books to add to this list via email and social media. We will continue to add to it over time. Scroll down to order. View our other Antiracist Reading Lists here:
We also encourage you to purchase these titles from Black owned bookstores across the country including:
- Marcus Books (Oakland, CA)* - https://bookshop.org/shop/marcusbooks
- *Oldest independently owned Black bookstore in the country!
- Mahogany Books (DC) - https://www.mahoganybooks.com/
- The Lit Bar (Bronx, NY) - http://www.thelitbar.com/
- Loyalty Bookstore (DC) - https://www.loyaltybookstores.com/
- Semicolon Bookstore (Chicago, IL) - http://www.semicolonchi.com/
- Uncle Bobbies (Philadelphia, PA) - https://www.unclebobbies.com/
- Harriett's Bookshop (Philadelphia, PA) - https://www.harriettsbookshop.com/
- Afriware Books (Maywood, IL) - https://www.afriwarebooks.com/
- Ashay by the Bay (Oakland, CA) - https://ashaybythebay.com/
- Hakim's Bookstore (Philadelphia, PA) - https://hakimsbookstore.com/
- Eso Won Bookstore (Los Angeles, CA) - https://www.esowonbookstore.com/
In addition to purchasing books, you can also DONATE and GET INVOLVED with causes and organizations fighting for racial justice in our communities. Suggestions include:
- Reclaim the Block - https://www.reclaimtheblock.org
- Minnesota Freedom Fund - https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/
- George Floyd Memorial Fund - https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd
- Black Visions Collective - https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
- Black Lives Matter - https://blacklivesmatter.com/
- Campaign Zero - https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
- NAACP - https://naacp.org/
- ACLU - https://www.aclu.org/
Questions? Email email@example.com.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a subversive history of white male American identity.
What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments?
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present—edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.
A fearless debut memoir in which beloved and bestselling How to Raise an Adult author Julie Lythcott-Haims pulls no punches in her recollections of growing up a black woman in America
“Courageous, achingly honest."
—Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor with the New York Times bestseller Me and White Supremacy and the Official Me and White Supremacy Guided Journal, now bundled together for the perfect antiracist gift or self-purchase
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony
A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present
An infinite geography of possible futures
What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
An urgent primer on race and racism, from the host of the viral hit video series
“Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”
The #1 New York Times bestseller and a USAToday bestseller!
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change.
Reflect on your understanding of race and discover ways to work toward an antiracist future with this guided journal from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Recommended by Oprah's Book Club, ESSENCE, We Need Diverse Books, ellentube, Brit + Co, PureWow, Teen Vogue, Time, New York, USA TODAY, and TODAY.com
Also available: This Book Is Anti-Racist Journal, a guided journal with more than 50 activities to support your anti-racism journey
ONE OF TIME’S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
Named one of the most important nonfiction books of the 21st century by Entertainment Weekly' Slate' Chronicle of Higher Education' Literary Hub, Book Riot' and Zora
The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights
"Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book Review
"Groundbreaking."—Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy
From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time
An official Oprah Winfrey’s “The Books That Help Me Through” selection
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today.
* Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry *
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism * Winner of the NAACP Image Award * Winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize * Winner of the PEN Open Book Award *
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“One of the most important books of the current moment.”—Time
“A rousing call to action... It should be required reading for everyone.”—Gabrielle Union, author of We’re Going to Need More Wine
2020 American Indian Youth Literature Young Adult Honor Book
2020 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People,selected by National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly
A “beautiful and eye-opening” (Jacqueline Woodson), “hilarious and heart-rending” (Celeste Ng) graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.
"This wonderful book should be a first choice for all collections and is strongly recommended as a springboard for discussions about differences.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
NOMINATED FOR AN NAACP IMAGE AWARD • An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.
This groundbreaking book by the acclaimed Dorothy Roberts examines how the myth of biological concept of race--revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases--continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly "post-racial" era.
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.
New York Times Editor’s Pick.
Library Journal Best Books of 2019.
TIME Magazine's "Best Memoirs of 2018 So Far."
O, Oprah’s Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.”
Politics & Current Events 2018 O.W.L. Book Awards Winner
The Root Best of 2018
The classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism -- now fully revised and updated
A thrilling and incisive examination of the post-Reconstruction era struggle for and suppression of African American voting rights in the United States.Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote?In a bitter partisan fight over the legislature a
In this bestselling, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
An unapologetic exploration of the Black mental health crisis--and a comprehensive road map to getting the care you deserve in an unequal system.
A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.
Finalist for the 2018 National Council on Crime & Delinquency's Media for a Just Society AwardsNominated for the 49th NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction) A 2017 Washington Post Notable Book A Kirkus Best Book of 2017
“If one had to identify the single most influential shaping force in modern Black literary history, one would probably have to point to Wright and the publication of Native Son.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr.
A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith
“Accessible and authoritative . . . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we’re not the magnanimous people we think we are?”—The Washington Post
I know my own mind.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK • From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with “diversity” so often falls short of its ideals.
An Emma Watson "Our Shared Shelf" Selection for November/December 2018 NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2018/ MENTIONED BY: The New York Public Library Mashable The Atlantic Bustle The Root Politico Magazine ("What the 2020 Candidates Are Reading This Summer") NPR
George Lipsitz’s classic book The Possessive Investment in Whiteness argues that public policy and private prejudice work together to create a possessive investment in whiteness that is responsible for the racialized hierarchies of our society.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
FINALIST, 2020 PULITZER PRIZE IN HISTORY
Named one of the Best Books of the Century by New York Magazine
Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones, Sing, Unburied, Sing) contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.
Winner of the John Hope Franklin Prize"A brilliant work that tells us how directly the past has formed us."
A Moyers & Company Best Book of the Year
--Darryl Pinckney, New York Review of Books
"A must-read for anyone interested in social justice and inequalities, social movements, the criminal justice system, and African American history. An excellent companion to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th."--Library Journal, Starred review
Over 50,000 copies sold of earlier editions Powerful strategies and practical tools for white people committed to racial justice
Held captive by her employers -- and by her own demons -- on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance, and survival.
$18.00ISBN: 9780802148308Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Grove Press - December 3rd, 2019
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN NONFICTION
Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement--in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana--all for a crime he did not commit.$18.00ISBN: 9781635572957Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 5th, 2019
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"This is a book that was begging to be written. This is the kind of book that demands a future where well no longer need such a book. Essential." --Marlon James
The most important book for me this year. --Emma Watson
Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for January/February 2018$25.95ISBN: 9780807011805Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Beacon Press - November 12th, 2019
Exposes the new generation of whiteness thriving at the expense and borrowed ingenuity of black people—and explores how this intensifies racial inequality.$16.99ISBN: 9781580058827Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Seal Press - September 24th, 2019
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America$17.00ISBN: 9780385527460Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: One World - January 6th, 2009
An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.$19.99ISBN: 9781506705644Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Berger Books - February 6th, 2018
This tenth anniversary edition of the acclaimed and fearless graphic novel features enhanced toned art, an afterword by Mat Johnson, character sketches, and other additional material.Email or call for priceISBN: 9780812997316Availability: Out of PrintPublished: Random House - July 11th, 2017
“In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading with Patrick.”—The Atlantic
A memoir of the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta$18.00ISBN: 9780809016464Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Hill and Wang - February 2nd, 2010
Born to slaves in 1862, Ida B. Wells became a fearless antilynching crusader, women's rights advocate, and journalist. Wells's refusal to accept any compromise on racial inequality caused her to be labeled a "dangerous radical" in her day but made her a model for later civil rights activists as well as a powerful witness to the troubled racial politics of her era.$16.99ISBN: 9781501126413Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: 37 Ink - January 9th, 2018
A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful story about a daring woman of “extraordinary grit” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital.$16.99ISBN: 9781580911863Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Crossing Press - August 1st, 2007
Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.
“[Lorde's] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware.”—The New York Times$16.00ISBN: 9780802143006Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Grove Press - January 1st, 2008
Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks represents some of his most important work. Fanon's masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.$19.99ISBN: 9780310113607Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Zondervan - January 7th, 2020
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller
An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically--up to the present day--worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.$18.95ISBN: 9780520292710Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: University of California Press - August 28th, 2018
"A powerful — and personal — account of the movement and its players."—The Washington Post
“This perceptive resource on radical black liberation movements in the 21st century can inform anyone wanting to better understand . . .$45.50ISBN: 9780674980303Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Belknap Press - May 12th, 2020
A prize-winning poet argues that blackness acts as the caesura between human and nonhuman, man and animal.$18.95ISBN: 9780674237834Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Belknap Press - January 7th, 2020
"Fascinating and instructive...King's philosophy, speaking to us through the written word, may turn out to constitute his most enduring legacy."
--Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Review of Books$22.95ISBN: 9780674976450Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Harvard University Press - September 18th, 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. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?$31.20ISBN: 9780231181112Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Columbia University Press - June 18th, 2019
American political thought has been shaped by those who fought back against social inequality, economic exclusion, the denial of political representation, and slavery, the country's original sin. Yet too often the voices of African American resistance have been neglected, silenced, or forgotten.$27.95ISBN: 9780520293281Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: University of California Press - October 25th, 2016
This timely special edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party, features a new preface by the authors that places the Party in a contemporary political landscape, especially as it relates to Black Lives Matter and other struggles to fight police brutality against black communities.
In Oakland, California, in 1966, community college$16.95ISBN: 9781101973219Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Vintage - February 6th, 2018
A PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD FINALIST
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • GQ • Time • The Economist • Slate • HuffPost • Book Riot$17.99ISBN: 9780316491372Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Orbit - August 13th, 2019
Three-time Hugo Award winner and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption that sharply examine modern society in her first collection of short fiction, which includes never-before-seen stories.$16.99ISBN: 9781568589404Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Bold Type Books - February 19th, 2019
From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave, beautifully wrought memoir.$25.00ISBN: 9781940696201Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Wave Books - April 5th, 2016
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in PoetryWinner of the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry Winner of the 2017 Book Award from the Society of Midland Authors for Poetry 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for poetry 2017 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalist$15.95ISBN: 9780393312379Availability: Out of StockPublished: W. W. Norton & Company - August 17th, 1995
The Black Unicorn is a collection of poems by a woman who, Adrienne Rich writes, "for the complexity of her vision, for her moral courage and the catalytic passion of her language, has already become, for many, an indispensable poet."$19.00ISBN: 9780143116967Availability: Out of StockPublished: Penguin Books - March 30th, 2010
Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry
Watch for the new collection of poetry from Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, coming in June of 2018$33.74ISBN: 9781879960855Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Aunt Lute Books - June 12th, 2012
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. LGBT Studies. Fourth Edition. Rooted in Gloria Anzald a's experience as a Chicana, a lesbian, an activist, and a writer, the essays and poems in this volume profoundly challenged, and continue to challenge, how we think about identity.Email or call for priceISBN: 9780393327649Availability: Special OrderPublished: W. W. Norton & Company - December 17th, 2005
"Jordan is a wizard at capturing vernacular in both conventional forms and his own invention." --Black Issues Book ReviewEmail or call for priceISBN: 9780399147203Availability: Special OrderPublished: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 15th, 2001
Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry
Brutal Imagination is the work of a poet at the peak of his considerable powers, confronting a crucial subject: the black man in America.
“A hymn to all the sons this country has stolen from her African-American families.”—The Village Voice$19.95ISBN: 9781101911204Availability: Out of StockPublished: Knopf - November 21st, 2017
This National Book Award-winning debut poetry collection is a "powerfully evocative" (The New York Review of Books) meditation on the black female figure through time.
Robin Coste Lewis's electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems meditating on the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self.$16.00ISBN: 9781555975845Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Graywolf Press - May 10th, 2011
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize
* Poet Laureate of the United States *
* A New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice *
* A New Yorker, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year *$17.99ISBN: 9781568588490Availability: Not On Our Shelves, Warehouse ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Bold Type Books - March 26th, 2019
This celebration of Black resistance, from protests to art to sermons to joy, offers a blueprint for the fight for freedom and justice -- and ideas for how each of us can contribute