Books and Essays

Photo of a bookshelf filled with books.

These are a selection of books which can serve as an introduction to understanding Anti-Black Racism in Canada and America. Find more books on this topic in the Anti-Black Racism book collection online, and its physical counterpart, a bookshelf on the first floor of Leddy's Main Building.
Introductory Material

These books are places to start when considering race and racism. The two books by Oluo and Kendi are primers on thinking about the topic, with Roberts’s text looking at how race plays out in society. Racecraft provides a more academic analysis of the concept of race and its invention.

How to be an antiracist by Ibram X Kendi (2019)

Fatal invention: how science, politics, and big business re-create race in the twenty-first century by Dorothy Roberts (2011)

Racecraft: the Soul of Inequality in American Life by Karen Fields and Barbara Fields (2012)

So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo (2018)

Classic Works

These are some of the seminal works written by revolutionaries and activists on the topic of Blackness and Black Liberation.

Ain't I a woman: black women and feminism by bell hooks (1981)

Assata: an autobiography by Assata Shakur (1987)

The autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X (1973)

The fire next time by James Baldwin (1963)

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou (1969)

If they come in the morning...voices of resistance edited by Angela Davis (1971)

The Souls of Black Folk by W E B Du Bois (1903)

To die for the people by Huey P Newton (1972)

Contemporary Non-Fiction

These texts are building on the foundations of Black theory to talk about race and racism in modern times, as well as to analyze history with a critical eye.

The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones (2021)

Black in White Space by Elijah Anderson (2022)

Disorientation by Ian Williams (2021)

Four hundred souls: a community history of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blaine (2021)

Freedom is a constant struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the foundations of a movement by Angela Davis (2016)

I've been meaning to tell you: a letter to my daughter by David Chariandy (2018)

Locking up our own by James Forman (2017)

Out of the sun: on race and storytelling by Esi Edugyan (2021)

Race and well-being: the lives, hopes and activism of African Canadians by Carl James (2010)

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D Farmer (2017)

The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole (2020)

Uncle: race, nostalgia, and the politics of loyalty by Cheryl Thompson (2021)
                Alumni Spotlight: Cheryl Thompson

Unsettling the Great White North edited by Michele A. Johnson, and Funké Aladejebi (2022)
                Alumni Spotlight: Funké Aladejebi

When they call you a terrorist: a Black Lives Matter memoir by Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele (2018)

Seminal Essays and Speeches

These are a few of the essays and speeches from the 20th century which acted as a foundation to a movement. There are far more than could be compiled here but searching for other works by these writers and those referenced by them is a good place to start.

An Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis by James Baldwin

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

The masters’ tools will never dismantle the masters house by Audre Lorde

Message to the Grassroots speech by Malcolm X

Nobel Lecture by Toni Morrison

Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation by Angela Y. Davis

The Revolution is at Hand speech by John Lewis

Toward Black Liberation by Stokely Carmicheal

Banner photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash
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