Civil Rights Movement Readings

After conversing with a friend on social media, I told him I would recommend some readings that would lean into the reasons for the current protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I have included my recommendations below in two segments:

•My Top 15 — Placed in an order that I thought was most important to least important in terms of learning about civil rights and perspectives. Included a link to Amazon on each of these.

•Other Important Works — I placed these in alphabetical order rather than in order of importance. Included in this list are some readings that relate closely to why people fight “the system” and some key works on other minorities who have struggled as well.

MY TOP 15:

#1 — Between The World and Me By: Ta-Nehisi Coates

#2 — Friday Black By: Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah

#3 — I Can’t Breathe By: Matt Taibbi

#4 — Policing The Black Man by: Angela J. Davis

#5 — The Color of Law By: Richard Rothstein

#6 — The Fire Next Time By: James Baldwin

#7 — An American Lyric By: Claudia Rankine

#8 — They Can’t Kill Us All By: Wesley Lowery

#9 — Tears We Cannot Stop By: Michael Eric Dyson

#10 — Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle For Racial Justice By: Raymond Arsenault

#11 — Extremism by: J.M. Berger

#12 — The Fire This Time By: Jesmyn Ward

#13 — How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America By: Kiese Laymon

#14 — Heavy: An American Memoir By: Kiese Laymon

#15 — Locking Up Our Own By: James Forman, Jr.


•Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In the Age of Colorblindness

•Anderson, Elijah. Code of the Street

•Bennett, Michael. Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

•Bryant, Howard. The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism

•Coates, Ta-Nehisi. We Were Eight Years In Power

Coetzee, J.M. Waiting For The Barbarians

•Dyson, Michael Eric. What Truth Sounds Like

•Gordimer, Nadine. July’s People

•Hughes, Langston. Selected Poems

•Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God

•Imbolo, Mbue. Behold The Dreamers

•Iyer, Deepa. We Too Sing America

•Kendi, Ibram X. How To Be An Antiracist

•Klein, Ezra. Why We’re Polarized

•Larsen, Nella. Quicksand and Passing

•LeClezio, JMG. Onitsha

•Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk To Freedom

•Noah, Trevor. Born A Crime

•Sachs, Albie. The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs

•Sachs, Albie. The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter

•Sandel, Michael. Justice

•Thompson-Spires, Nafissa. The Heads of Colored People

•Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas

•Tyson, Timothy. The Blood of Emmett Till

•X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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