Black Lives Matter: Community Read
Our ebook platform Overdrive (Libby) will be making selected books available without waitlists or holds. These books are focused on #ownvoices and are intended to help communities read, listen, learn and grow as they expand their knowledge of race relations.
Monday, June 15 – July 15
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (e-audiobook). Named one of the Most Influential Books of the Last 20 Years by the Chronicle of Higher Education and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction, Alexander’s critically acclaimed book examines racial disparities through the lens of mass incarceration.
Monday, June 22 – July 19
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Ebook and audiobook) This bestselling young adult novel follows Starr, a Black teenager caught between the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these two worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
Monday, June 22 – July 12
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F Saad (Ebook) This New York Times bestseller published in January 2020 is based on the viral #meandwhitesupremacy Instagram challenge and provides a framework for readers to dismantle the privilege within themselves.
Watch for upcoming titles, including So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeomo Oluo.
ALA’s Black Lives Matter Comics Reading List
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, together with ALA’s Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table, compiled a Black Lives Matter Comics Reading List to draw “attention to the Black experiences of the past and present to demand a new future for our Black friends and neighbors.” Listed below are some of the print titles in our catalog, available by request for contact-free pickup.
The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White
A fictionalized account of the 369th Infantry Regiment, the first African American regiment mustered to fight in World War I.
Incognegro by Mat Johnson, Warren Pleece, and Clem Robins (available in Fanwood)
Black reporter Zane Pinchback goes undercover as a white man to investigate the arrest of his brother and save him from a lynch mob.
Josephine Baker by Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet
The glorious life and tumultuous times of Josephine Baker.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and Damian Duffy
A graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking science-fiction classic offers an unflinching look at slavery, race, and the role of women in society.
The Life of Frederick Douglass by David F. Walker, Damon Smyth, and Marissa Louise.
Celebrated comic book writer and filmmaker Walker presents the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in graphic format.
The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell (available in Fanwood)
As the civil rights struggle heats up in Texas, two families-one white, one black-find common ground.
Your Black Friend and Other Strangers by Ben Passmore.
An exploration of the stresses and harm a Black man experiences in his everyday life through his relationships with non-Black people.
We have provided links below to those that may be borrowed as ebooks or e-audiobooks through our two online services, RBDigital and eLibraryNJ. Print copies may currently be requested for contact-free pickup. If a book is checked out, you can place a ‘hold’ and you will be notified when it’s available to be picked up.
Please contact us if you have any questions about accessing these books.
By not running from the books that pain us, we can allow them to transform us.
The New York Times published this list by author and historian Ibram X. Kendi, whose book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
The following are available to borrow or hold:
The Condemnation of Blackness: ““Black” and “criminal” are as wedded in America as “star” and “spangled.” Muhammad’s book traces these ideas to the late 19th century, when racist policies led to the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of blacks, igniting urban whites’ fears and bequeathing tenaciously racist stereotypes.”
Waiting ’til the Midnight Hour: “To be antiracist is not only to promote equity among racial groups, but also among their spaces, something the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s understood well, as Joseph’s chronicle makes clear.”
How We Get Free: “Black feminist literature…helps us recognize black women “as human, levelly human,” as the Combahee River Collective demanded to be seen in 1977.”
Sister Outsider“…[M]y racialized homophobia made Lorde’s essays and speeches a challenge. But pain often precedes healing.”
Additional titles available in our collection:
A list compiled by writers and reviewers for Bustle.com.
“How to Be an Antiracist explains why a personal opposition to racism and racist policies and behaviors does not excuse us from performing the civic duty of actively fighting against organizational structures that promote and maintain white supremacy.”
White Fragility: “Most white people will admit that racism makes someone a bad person, but we draw the line at calling other people racist, or admitting to our own unconscious biases. Robin DiAngelo examines these defensive behaviors, mapping their roots and branches…
“A stunning history of the racial divides in metropolitan America and how they got there, The Color of Law makes clear the undeniable connection between discriminatory laws and policies enforced by the government and the long-reaching grasp of discrimination still alive today.”
Additional list titles available to borrow or hold:
- Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon (print)
- Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson (print)
- So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
A recently-published list from an independent editorial book site that is “dedicated to the idea that writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are.”
Available to borrow or hold:
- You Can’t Touch My Hair, and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (RBDigital e-audiobook)
- When Affirmative Action Was White by Ira Katznelson (RBDigital e-audiobook)
- Killers of the Flower Moon (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Roots by Alex Haley (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Long Walk to Freedom (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Barracoon (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Night (eLibraryNJ ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (RbDigital ebook; print)
- Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (RBdigital ebook; print)
- Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran (RBdigital e-audiobook)
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of The New York Public Library, is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (Remix version for YA) by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds (RBdigital ebook and eaudio; print)
- Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith (RB e- audiobook; print)
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis (RBDigital e-audiobook)
- Citizen by Claudia Rankine (RBDigital e-audiobook; print)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (RBDigital e-audiobook; print)
- Just Mercy (YA version) by Bryan Stevenson (RBDigital e-audiobook; print)
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (RBDigital ebook; eLibraryNJ ebook; print)
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (RBdigital ebook and e-audiobook; print)
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lord (RBDigital e-audiobook)
Online Video Resources
The Library’s online streaming video resource Kanopy Films offers many films and documentary series on racism. Besides these, view all films listed in their Social and Systemic Injustice category.
An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I am Not Your Negro explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism, a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.
Slavery by Another Name challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South after the Civil War, new systems of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force and brutality. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.
Online Library Research Sources
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The African-American History Online database provides different perspectives through event and topic entries, slideshows, primary sources, images, videos, general and topic-specific timelines, biographies of key people, original maps and charts, and more.