In many of the timely reading lists of the current moment, there is an absence of books that speak to people who experience the brunt of racism, policing and health-care discrimination. As the relaxing of shelter-in-place begins, even as a second wave of COVID-19 is anticipated, here is a short list of books speaking to readers who experience racism, rather than those who are unlearning it.
by adrienne maree brown
In this book, brown looks at the patterns of adaptation that occur in nature, but she also re-envisions what organizing can look like in the twenty-first century. The influences of science fiction and Grace Lee Boggs are evident.
“Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements”
by Charlene Carruthers
Founding national director of Black Youth Project 100 and South Side resident Carruthers offers a new take on Chicago activist methods focused on healing, creative strategies, alliances, among other guiding principles.
“How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance”
edited by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin
This collection of essays features contributors discussing the myriad ways that they challenge racism and anti-Blackness. Contributors include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tarana Burke, Harry Belafonte, adrienne maree brown, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Kiese Laymon, Jamilah Lemieux, Robin D.G. Kelley, Hanif Abdurraqib, Amanda Seales, Imani Perry, John Jennings and Tongo Eisen-Martin.
“Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century”
by Barbara Ransby
In this collection, UIC professor Barbara Ransby documents the Black Lives Matter movement and posits what its future might be. Some of which is unfolding in 2020.
“Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement”
edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
In this book, the contributors look at various inclusive, community-based approaches to addressing violence without prisons or policing, but through accountability.
“The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health”
by Rheeda Walker
As activists in Chicago protested on behalf of Laquan McDonald, one of their requests was for more mental health care in the city’s Black communities. There have been books by Frantz Fanon, Bobby Wright and Joy DeGruy that address the psychological concerns of Black people, and this accessible book may help with starting to address some of the mental health issues that Black people face.
Newcity Lit Editor Tara Betts is the author of “Break the Habit” and “Arc & Hue.” Her interviews and features have appeared in publications such as Hello Giggles, Mosaic Magazine, NYLON, The Source, Sixty Inches from Center, and Poetry magazine. She also hosts author chats at the Seminary Co-Op bookstores in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.