In a system that continuously fails our Black Americans, we are not doing enough as non-Black Americans – if anything at all. Fully committing ourselves to social change looks less like outwardly stating we support Black people, and more like looking inward on how we continue to fail Black people. We need to unlearn the racism ingrained in us, and recognize we will never fully understand the trauma Black people endure because of systemic oppression. Unlearning and re-educating can only be achieved through disrupting the system in place, much controlled by our thoughts and actions. We should not look to Black people to learn and understand because it is not their responsibility to eradicate our racism. The burden should never fall on them. We owe it to Black people to find our own avenues to educate ourselves. The reading list provided below should not be something you look at when “Black Lives Matter” is trending, but rather something you commit yourself to in life.


Autobiography/ Biography 

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou 

“Black Boy” by Richard Wright

“My Vanishing Country: A Memoir” by Bakari Sellers 

“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson 

“The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Neisi Coates

“Assata: An Autobiography” by Assata Shakur

“The Brother You Choose” by Paul Coates and Eddie Conway



“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander

“Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire 

“The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein 

“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi

“The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement” by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris

“They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement” by Wesley Lowery

“Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F Saad 



“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison 

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead 

“The Street” by Ann Petry

“Conjure Women” by Afia Atakora

“Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine 



“Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde

“The Souls of the Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois

“Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin 

“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin


Children’s Books

“Something Happened in Our Town” by Marianne Celano

“Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester

“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes

“Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X” by Ilyasah Shabazz 

“Separate is Never Equal” by Duncan Tontiuh 

“Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library” by Carole Boston Weatherford 

“Sulwe” by Lupita Nyong’o

“The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist” by Cynthia Levinson


Maya Kadouh can be contacted at

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