7 books that will help educate you as an ally for the Black community

Aug. 1, 2020, 10:52 a.m.

Amid Black Lives Matter protests around the world, people are constantly encountering new resources and information that can help them learn more about Black history and systemic racism, and the daily transgressions Black communities face across America. Our social media feeds were once filled with educational threads, but now it seems as though the momentum is slowing down. Despite this return to “normalcy” online, it’s important to continue educating ourselves and others about the Black Lives Matter movement. Here are seven books that can help with that. 

  1. “Freedom is a Constant Struggle” by Angela Y. Davis

World-renowned scholar and activist Angela Y. Davis combines essays, interviews and speeches in her book “Freedom is a Constant Struggle” to showcase how struggles of violence and oppression against different minority groups are connected. Noting the importance of intersectionality in liberation movements, Davis analyzes past struggles like the Black Freedom Movement and current struggles like the annexation of Palestine. 

  1. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In his New York Times best-selling book, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates displays letter-style essays addressed to his son that depict the life of a Black American in current times. Coates analyzes the history of certain oppressions the Black community faces, which were rooted in America’s beginnings. He also dives deep and illustrates how many of these oppressions, like police brutality, are still being perpetuated today. 

  1. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi

Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi teaches readers that in order to combat racism in today’s society, we must first understand the reasons behind why racist ideologies were developed and continue to be perpetuated in society today. “Stamped from the Beginning” equips readers with the tools necessary to combat these racist ideas we encounter every day. 

  1. “So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo

In her New York Times best-selling novel, author Ijeoma Oluo examines the many forms of racism prevalent in American society today. Oluo not only explains the history of racism within America including white supremacy, but also dives into different ways in which readers can navigate other topics like affirmative action and intersectionality.

  1. “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement” by Wesley Lowery

Journalist Wesley Lowery offers a historically insightful look into the realities of police violence in America by analyzing the stories of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, and the justice system’s failure to support them. Lowery also analyzes the overarching stalemate of the police force in America and the citizens they are sworn to protect. 

  1. “Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets” by Feminista Jones

American social worker and writer Michelle Taylor, professionally known as Feminista Jones, explores how Black women are creating societal and cultural impact via social media. Jones analyzes that complex conversations about race, class and gender are able to occur because of social media as she touches on the many Black female-led movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName and #BlackGirlMagic. 

  1. “Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century” by Barbara Ransby 

Award-winning historian and activist Barbara Ransby dives into the history and development of the Black Lives Matter movement. More specifically, Ransby highlights the lesser-known individuals who had made large impacts when advocating the movement. Ransby also analyzes the movement’s societal impact and discusses the influence it will have in the long term. 

Contact Justine Ha at justinemha ‘at’ gmail.com.

Justine Ha is a high school student writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop.

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