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Reading List for Diversity Week 2022 - Liberation!
Civil Rights Queen by
Born to an aspirational blue-collar family during the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley was expected to find herself a good career as a hair dresser. Instead, she became the first Black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, the first of ten she would eventually argue. The only Black woman member in the legal team at the NAACP's Inc. Fund at the time, she defended Martin Luther King in Birmingham, helped to argue in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and played a critical role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws throughout the South. She was the first Black woman elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected Manhattan Borough President, and the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary. Civil Rights Queen captures the story of a remarkable American life, a figure who remade law and inspired the imaginations of African Americans across the country.
His Name Is George Floyd by
A landmark biography by two prizewinning Washington Post reporters that reveals how systemic racism shaped George Floyd's life and legacy--from his family's roots in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, to ongoing inequality in housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and policing--telling the singular story of how one man's tragic experience brought about a global movement for change. The events of that day are now tragically familiar: on May 25, 2020, George Floyd became the latest Black person to die at the hands of the police, murdered outside of a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin. The video recording of his death set off a series of protests in the United States and around the world, awakening millions to the dire need for reimagining this country's broken systems of policing. But behind a face that would be graffitied onto countless murals, and a name that has become synonymous with civil rights, there is the reality of one man's stolen life: a life beset by suffocating systemic pressures that ultimately proved inescapable. This biography of George Floyd shows the athletic young boy raised in the projects of Houston's Third Ward who would become a father, a partner, a friend, and a man constantly in search of a better life.
She Came to Slay by
Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights. Now, National Book Award nominee Erica Armstrong Dunbar presents a fresh take on this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars that illuminate the life of Tubman as never before. Not only did Tubman help liberate hundreds of slaves, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War, worked as a spy for the Union Army, was a fierce suffragist, and was an advocate for the aged. She Came to Slay reveals the many complexities and varied accomplishments of one of our nation's true heroes and offers an accessible and modern interpretation of Tubman's life that is both informative and engaging.
Four Hundred Souls by
A chorus of extraordinary voices tells one of history's great epics: The four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619-- a year before the Mayflower dropped anchor off Cape Cod, when the White Lion disgorged "some 20 and odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia-- to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history. Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans.
This Bridge Called My Back Fortie by
Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, the collection explores, as coeditor Cherríe Moraga writes, "the complex confluence of identities--race, class, gender, and sexuality--systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.
Jane Crow by
hroughout her prodigious life, activist and lawyer Pauli Murray systematically fought against all arbitrary distinctions in society, channeling her outrage at the discrimination she faced to make America a more democratic country. In this definitive biography, Rosalind Rosenberg offers a poignant portrait of a figure who played pivotal roles in both the modern civil rights and women's movements.
African American Poetry by
Across a turbulent history, Black poets created a rich and multifaceted tradition that has been both a reckoning with American realities and an imaginative response to them. One of the great American art forms, African American poetry encompasses many kinds of verse: formal, experimental, vernacular, lyric, and protest. The anthology opens with moving testaments to the power of poetry as a means of self-assertion, as enslaved people voice their passionate resistance to slavery. This volume captures the power and beauty of this diverse tradition and its challenge to American poetry and culture. Here are all the significant movements and currents: the nineteenth-century Francophone poets known as Les Cenelles, the Chicago Renaissance that flourished around Gwendolyn Brooks, the early 1960s Umbra group, and the more recent work of writers affiliated with Cave Canem and the Dark Noise Collective. Here too are poems of singular, hard-to-classify figures: the enslaved potter David Drake, the allusive modernist Melvin B. Tolson, the Cleveland-based experimentalist Russell Atkins. The volume also features biographies of each poet and notes that illuminate cultural references and allusions to historical events.
Black Food by
Terry captures the broad and divergent voices of the African Diaspora through the prism of food. More than a cookbook, this book is a communal shrine to the shared cultural history of the African diaspora, offered up in gratitude to the great chain of Black lives, and to all the sustaining ingredients and nourishing traditions they carried and remembered. The recipes embody the contributors' approach to cooking, and draws on history and memory while looking forward. Terry includes visual art, thought-provoking essays, and imaginative poetry that encourage exploration, renewal, and growth--Adapted from Introduction"A beautiful, rich, and groundbreaking book exploring Black foodways within America and around the world, curated by food activist and author of Vegetable Kingdom Bryant Terry
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. Racist ideas are woven into the fabric of this country, and the first step to building an antiracist America is acknowledging America's racist past and present. This book takes you on that journey, showing how racist ideas started and were spread, and how they can be discredited"--Dust jacket flapThe thief known as racism is all around. The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. Racist ideas are woven into a fabric of this country, and the first step to building an antiracist America is acknowledging America's racist past and present. This book takes you on that journey, showing you racist ideas started and were spread, and how they can discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, Stamped shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas -- and on ways YOU can identify and stamp out racist thoughts, leading to a better future.
A new historical anthology from transatlantic slavery to the Reconstruction curated by the Schomburg Center, that makes the case for focusing on the histories of Black people as agents and architects of their own lives and ultimate liberation, with a foreword by Kevin Young. This is the first Penguin Classics anthology published in partnership with the Schomburg Center, a world-renowned cultural institution documenting black life in America and worldwide. A historic branch of NYPL located in Harlem, the Schomburg holds one of the world's premiere collections of slavery material within the Lapidus Center for Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery.
The Firebrand and the First Lady by
Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, two-hundred-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living, something the first lady had pushed her husband to set up in her effort to do what she could for working women and the poor. The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then aged twenty-three, Roosevelt's self-assurance was a symbol of women's independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray's life. Five years later, Pauli Murray, a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South. The president's staff forwarded Murray's letter to the federal Office of Education. The first lady wrote back.
Furious Flower by
Presents an anthology of poems by more than one hundred award-winning poets, including Jericho Brown, Justin Philip Reed, and Tracy K. Smith, with themed essays on poetics from celebrated scholars such as Kwame Dawes, Meta DuEwa Jones, and Evie Shockley. The Furious Flower Poetry Center is the nation's first academic center for Black poetry. In this eponymous collection, editors Joanne V. Gabbin and Lauren K. Alleyne bring together many of the paramount voices in Black poetry and poetics active today, composing a mosaic of voices, generations, and aesthetics that reveals the Black narrative in the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers. Furious Flower explores and celebrates the idea of the Black poetic voice by posing the question, What's next for Black poetic expression?
If They Come for Us by
This imaginative, soulful debut poetry collection captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America. Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the man facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people's histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.
The Trouble with White Women by
From suffragettes to sexuality, feminist history is often told as a narrative of women united in the fight against patriarchy. But there have always been limits and fault lines in the feminist movements that centered white women's rights at the expense of all others. As scholar Kyla Schuller argues in The Trouble with White Women, white women, across political classes, have used racism and other hierarchies of power to win their own rights and expand their personal opportunities. Their white feminist politics have come at a great cost, resulting in the sustained exploitation, oppression, and silencing of women of color. The Trouble with White Women details the history of white feminist icons and their counterparts from the 1840s to the present. From Margaret Sanger, who promoted racist eugenics and was in conflict with Dr. Dorothy Ferebee, to Pauli Murray, who fought for a more radical vision of feminism against Betty Friedan's homophobic and racist ideas. Today, that tradition endures. So-called feminists continue to advocate excluding trans people from the movement and promote the Violence Against Women Act that has buttressed the greatest carceral state in the world. But as The Trouble with White Women argues, resistance to these white feminist politics has continually emerged from Black, Indigenous, poor, queer, and trans women and their movements for liberation. It is only by understanding this complex legacy that feminism can build a movement that honors the radical work and lives of those who suffer most under patriarchy.
The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3 by
The collected poems dispel the notion that there is one correct way to be a Muslim by holding space for multiple, intersecting identities while celebrating and protecting those identities.
My Broken Language by
Quiara Alegria Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother's tight South Philly kitchen, "frizzy hair cut short, bangs teased into stiff clouds, sweat glistening in the summer fog, pamper-butt babies weaving between legs." Quiara was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken stories of the barrio -- even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering of powerful orishas with tragic wounds and she vowed to tell their stories--but first she'd have to get off the stairs and join the dance; she'd have to find her language. This is an inspired exploration of home, family, memory, and belonging, narrated by the obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty
New Poets of Native Nations by
This anthology gathers poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry. Heid E. Erdrich has selected twenty-one poets whose first books were published after the year 2000 to highlight the exciting works coming up after Joy Harjo and Sherman Alexie. Collected here are long narratives, political outcries, experimental works, and traditional lyrics.
Between the World and Me by
Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men -- bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son -- and readers -- the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder - Book Trigger Warnings: Contains police brutality and racial discrimination.
Claiming Belonging by
This book examines how Muslim American organizations have sought to access and influence the US political system as a minority group and, in the process, engage in constructing a Muslim American political identity.
A Black Women's History of the United States by
A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are--and have always been--instrumental in shaping our country. In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today. A Black Women's History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women's lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices: enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women's history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation.
The Fight for Asian American Civil Rights by
From the early 1900s, liberal Protestants grafted social welfare work onto spiritual concerns on both sides of the Pacific. Their goal: to forge links between whites and Asians that countered anti-Asian discrimination in the United States. Their test: uprooting racial hatreds that, despite their efforts, led to the shameful incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II. Sarah M. Griffith draws on the experiences of liberal Protestants, and the Young Men's Christian Association in particular, to reveal the intellectual, social, and political forces that powered this movement. Engaging a wealth of unexplored primary and secondary sources, Griffith explores how YMCA leaders and their partners in the academy and distinct Asian American communities labored to mitigate racism. The alliance's early work, based in mainstream ideas of assimilation and integration, ran aground on the Japanese exclusion law of 1924. Yet their vision of Christian internationalism and interracial cooperation maintained through the World War II internment trauma. As Griffith shows, liberal Protestants emerged from that dark time with a reenergized campaign to reshape Asian-white relations in the postwar era.
The White Devil's Daughters by
A revelatory history of the trafficking of young Asian girls that flourished in San Francisco during the first century of Chinese immigration (1848-1943) and the "safe house" on the edge of Chinatown that became a refuge for those seeking their freedom. From 1874, a house on the edge of San Francisco's Chinatown served as a gateway to freedom for thousands of enslaved and vulnerable young Chinese women and girls. Known as the Occidental Mission Home, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violence directed against its occupants and supporters--a courageous group of female abolitionists who fought the slave trade in Chinese women. With compassion and an investigative historian's sharp eyes, Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists, who challenged the corrosive, anti-Chinese prejudices of the time, and the young women who dared to flee their fate. She relates how the women who ran the house defied contemporary convention, even occasionally broke the law, by physically rescuing children from the brothels where they worked, or snatching them off the ships smuggling them in, and helped bring the exploiters to justice. She has also uncovered the stories of many of the girls and young women who came to the Mission and the lives they later led, sometimes becoming part of the home's staff themselves. A remarkable story of an overlooked part of our history, told with sympathy and vigor.
In the tradition of W.E.B. Du Bois, Cornel West, and other public intellectuals who confronted the "color line" of the twentieth century, journalist, law professor, and activist Frank H. Wu offers a unique perspective on how changing ideas of racial identity will affect race relations in the new century. Often provocative and always thoughtful, this book addresses some of the most controversial contemporary issues: discrimination, immigration, diversity, globalization, and the mixed-race movement, introducing the example of Asian Americans to shed new light on the current debates. Combining personal anecdotes, social-science research, legal cases, history, and original journalistic reporting, Wu discusses damaging Asian American stereotypes such as "the model minority" and "the perpetual foreigner." By offering new ways of thinking about race in American society, Wu's work challenges us to make good on our great democratic experiment.
Know My Name by
She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford's campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral--viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time. Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways--there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
The Audacity of a Kiss by
Rendered in bronze, covered in white lacquer, two women sit together on a park bench in Greenwich Village. One of the women touches the thigh of her partner as they gaze into each other's eyes. The two women are part of George Segal's iconic sculpture "Gay Liberation," but these powerful symbols were modeled on real people: Leslie Cohen and her partner (now wife) Beth Suskin. In this evocative memoir, Cohen tells the story of a love that has lasted for over fifty years. Transporting the reader to the pivotal time when brave gay women and men carved out spaces where they could live and love freely, she recounts both her personal struggles and the accomplishments she achieved as part of New York's gay and feminist communities. Foremost among these was her 1976 cofounding of the groundbreaking women's nightclub Sahara, which played host to such luminaries as Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Pat Benatar, Ntozake Shange, Rita Mae Brown, Adrienne Rich, Patti Smith, Bella Abzug, and Jane Fonda. The Audacity of a Kiss is a moving and inspiring tale of how love, art, and solidarity can overcome oppression.
We Are Power by
We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? In an age when armies are stronger than ever before, when guns seem to be everywhere, how can people confront their adversaries without resorting to violence themselves? Through key international movements-from the freedom of India from British rule to American labor unions and civil rights to actions taken by high school and college students around the world-this book discusses the components of nonviolent resistance. It answers the question "Why nonviolence?" by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds.
LGBTQ Social Movements in America by
This book looks at social change movements in the country's LGBTQ history, including the Stonewall riots that started the modern gay rights movement and die-ins that pressured the US government to take note of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
Has the Gay Movement Failed? by
The past fifty years have seen marked significant shifts in attitudes toward and acceptance of LGBTQ people in the United States and the West. Yet the extent of this progress, argues Martin Duberman, has been more broad and conservative than deep and transformative. One of the most renowned historians of the American left and LGBTQ movement, as well as a pioneering social-justice activist, Duberman reviews the fifty years since Stonewall with an immediacy and rigor that informs and energizes. He relives the early gay movement's progressive vision for society as a whole and puts the Left on notice as having continuously failed to embrace the queer potential for social transformation. He acknowledges successes as some of the most discriminatory policies that plagued earlier generations were eliminated but highlights the costs as radical goals were sidelined for more normative inclusion. Illuminating the fault lines both within and beyond the movements of the past and today, this critical book is also hopeful: Duberman urges us to learn from this history to fight for a truly inclusive and expansive society.
The Politics of Right Sex The by
While the growing attention to trans rights and the development of trans specific interest groups suggest that the time is right for a trans rights movement akin to prior civil rights movements, The Politics of Right Sex explores the limitations of rights-based mobilization and litigation for advancing the interests of trans communities. Synthesizing critical theory, transgender studies, and extant law and society research, author Courtenay W. Daum argues that trans individuals, particularly those situated at the intersection of gender, race, class, and immigration status, are regulated by myriad forces of governmentality that work to maintain the sex and gender binaries and associated power hierarchies. Because many informal practices and norms are located beyond the reach of civil rights laws, a trans politics of rights may produce some modest legal and legislative reforms but will not eliminate the disciplinary forces that work to subject trans individuals and will privilege those transgender individuals who are able to conform with dominant gender norms at the expense of the interests of gender non-conforming, gender queer, trans people of color, and others unable or unwilling to embrace a transnormative presentation of self and/or lifestyle. As such, The Politics of Right Sex advocates for a more confrontational approach that directly engages and challenges the hegemonic power structures that govern and discipline trans individuals, to disrupt the dominant discourse and hierarchical power arrangements in pursuit of collective liberation for all as opposed to rights for some.
Rainbow Warrior by
In 1978, Harvey Milk asked Gilbert Baker to create a unifying symbol for the growing gay rights movement, and on June 25 of that year, Baker's Rainbow Flag debuted at San Francisco's Gay Liberation Day parade. Baker had no idea his creation would become an international emblem of freedom, forever cementing his place and importance in helping to define the modern LGBTQ+ movement. Rainbow Warrior is Baker's passionate personal chronicle, from a repressive childhood in 1950s Kansas to a harrowing stint in the US Army, and finally his arrival in San Francisco, where he bloomed as both a visual artist and social justice activist. His fascinating story weaves through the early years of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, where he worked closely with Milk, Cleve Jones, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Baker continued his flag-making, street theater?and activism through the Reagan years and the AIDS crisis. And in 1994, Baker spearheaded the effort to fabricate a mile-long Rainbow Flag?at the time, the world's longest?to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Gilbert and parade organizers battled with the newly elected Mayor Giuliani for the right to carry it up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick's Cathedral. Today, the Rainbow Flag has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusiveness, and its rainbow hues have illuminated landmarks from the White House to the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House. Gilbert Baker often called himself the "Gay Betsy Ross," and readers of his colorful, irreverent,and deeply personal memoir will find it difficult to disagree.
No Pity by
Publication Date: 1993-05-04
In No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, Joe Shapiro of U.S. News & World Report tells of a political awakening few nondisabled Americans have even imagined. There are over 43 million disabled people in this country alone; for decades most of them have been thought incapable of working, caring for themselves, or contributing to society. But during the last twenty-live years, they, along with their parents and families, have begun to recognize that paraplegia, retardation, deafness, blindness, AIDS, autism, or any of the hundreds of other chronic illnesses and disabilities that differentiate them from the able-bodied are not tragic. The real tragedy is prejudice, our society's and the medical establishment's refusal to recognize that the disabled person is entitled to every right and privilege America can offer. No Pity's chronicle of disabled people's struggle for inclusion, from the seventeenth-century deaf communities on Martha's Vineyard to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992, is only part of the story. Joe Shapiro's five years of in-depth reporting have uncovered many personal stories as well.
The Gay Revolution by
The fight for gay and lesbian civil rights -- the years of injustice, the early battles, the defeats, and the victories beyond the dreams of the gay rights pioneers -- is an important civil rights issue of the present day. In this book, Lillian Faderman tells this unfinished story through the accounts of passionate struggles with sweep, depth, and feeling. The Gay Revolution begins in the 1950s, when gays and lesbians were criminals, psychiatrists saw them as mentally ill, churches saw them as sinners, and society victimized them with hatred. Against this dark backdrop, a few brave people began to fight back, paving the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond. Faderman discusses the protests in the 1960s; the counter reaction of the 1970s and early eighties; the decimated but united community during the AIDS epidemic; and the current hurdles for the right to marriage equality.