Evanston/North Shore

Racial Justice Resources

Racial Justice Lending Library: Stop by YWCA and borrow a book from the Racial Justice bookshelf in the southeast corner of the lobby. Return it when you're finished, and cross your name off the list, so we know the book is back. Feel free to leave a comment card about the book, so others can get your feedback as they are choosing a book.

This resource page is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a place to start. We welcome your recommendations as well. We try to rotate the titles every few months.

Reviews provided by publishers or amazon.com, unless otherwise noted.



For those who want to read the full history of our country – with all groups represented, we highly recommend:

 The People's History of the United States, 1980
Howard Zinn
Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States was the one of the first volumes to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.

Environmental Health and Racial Equity: Building Environmentally Just, Sustainable, and Livable Communities, 2011
Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D.; Glenn S. Johnson, Ph.D.; Angel O. Torres, M.C.P.
The book captures the current state of the environmental justice movement and its work around health and racial equity over the past 25 years. While mounting grassroots mobilization efforts over the past three decades has resulted in protective new laws and regulations, minority neighborhoods continue to serve as “dumping grounds” for polluting facilities, according to the book. According to the authors, “One of the most important indicators of an individual’s health is one’s street address or neighborhood. Residents who live on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ are subjected to elevated environmental health threats.”               

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2003
Annette Lareau
The author conducted an ethnographic study of 12 families raising third graders from different social classes over a two-year period. Chapters are divided into 3 sections on The Organization of Daily Life, Language Use, and Families and Institutions.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Book Got Wrong, 1995
James W. Louwen
After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, Louwen has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past. In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War.

Fatal Invention, 2012
Dorothy Roberts
In this analysis, NU professor Roberts argues that America is once again at the brink of a virulent outbreak of classifying population by race. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when America claims to be post-racial. Moving from an account of the evolution of race—proving that it has always been a mutable and socially defined political division supported by mainstream science—Roberts delves deep into the current debates, interrogating the newest science and biotechnology, interviewing its researchers, and exposing the political consequences obscured by the focus on genetic difference. (from The New Press)                                  

Can We Talk about Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, 2008
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Tatum’s latest book follows up with a broader question about the nation's readiness to talk honestly about the forces that continue to make race such a thorny issue. In separate essays, Tatum probes the impact of continued segregation in public schools--mostly the result of segregated neighborhoods--on classroom achievement; the difficulty of developing and sustaining interracial relationships in a society that practices silence on race; and the longer-term implications of continued segregation on a changing democracy with a growing nonwhite population. Tatum blends policy analysis and personal recollections as an educator and self-described "integration baby".

Our Black Year: One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy, 2012
Maggie Anderson
December 17, 2013 Maggie and John Anderson were successful African American professionals raising two daughters in a tony suburb of Chicago. But they felt uneasy over their good fortune. Most African Americans live in economically starved neighborhoods, yet most of the businesses in their communities are owned by outsiders. On January 1, 2009 the Andersons embarked on a year-long public pledge to "buy black." Drawing on economic research and social history as well as her personal story, Maggie Anderson shows why the black economy continues to suffer and issues a call to action to all of us to do our part to reverse this trend.
Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America, 2009

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
In the third edition of his highly acclaimed book, Bonilla-Silva continues to challenge color-blind thinking. He has now extended this challenge with a new chapter on Obama's election addressing the apparent miracle of a black man elected as the 44th President of the nation despite the fact that racial progress has stagnated since the 1980s and, in some areas, even regressed.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 2012
Michelle Alexander
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. (Review from amazon.com)

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, 2011
Eugene Robinson
In this groundbreaking book, Robinson argues that over decades of desegregation, affirmative action, and immigration, instead of one black America, now there are: a mainstream middle-class majority with a full ownership stake in American society; a large, abandoned minority with less hope of escaping poverty and dysfunction than at any time since Reconstruction’s crushing end; a small transcendent elite with such enormous wealth, power, and influence that even white folks have to genuflect; and two newly emergent groups—individuals of mixed-race heritage and communities of recent black immigrants—that make us wonder what “black” is even supposed to mean. Robinson shows that these black Americas have become so distinct that they view each other with mistrust and apprehension. And yet all are reluctant to acknowledge division. Disintegration offers a new paradigm for understanding race in America, with implications both hopeful and dispiriting. It shines necessary light on debates about affirmative action, racial identity, and the ultimate question of whether the black community will endure.

Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America, 2012
Tanner Colby

Some of My Best Friends Are Black chronicles America’s troubling relationship with race through four interrelated stories: the transformation of a once-racist Birmingham school system; a Kansas City neighborhood’s fight against housing discrimination; the curious racial divide of the Madison Avenue ad world; and a Louisiana Catholic parish’s forty-year effort to build an integrated church. Writing with a reporter’s nose and a stylist’s flair, Colby uncovers the deep emotional fault lines set trembling by race and takes an unflinching look at an America still struggling to reach the mountaintop.

The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism, 2008
Rosalind S. Chou, and Joe R. Feagin
In this path-breaking book, sociologists Rosalind Chou and Joe Feagin examine, for the first time in depth, racial stereotyping and discrimination daily faced by Asian Americans long viewed by whites as the model minority. Drawing on more than 40 field interviews across the country, they examine the everyday lives of Asian Americans in numerous different national origin groups. Their data contrast sharply with white-honed, especially media, depictions of racially untroubled Asian American success.

We are Americans; Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream, 2009
William Perez
Perez makes a strong case for immigration reform, specifically reform through which undocumented immigrants who pursue higher education would be granted legal status. To this end, he presents and analyzes the experiences of 20 undocumented or formerly undocumented students, with sections on students at the high school, community college, college, and graduate levels... The work's strength lies in its in-depth portrayal of undocumented students' experiences, in their own words. In-depth description and numerous quotes from Perez's interviewees make this book a useful resource for students and scholars of immigration and education, as well as for general readers looking for first-person stories of immigration.

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotpyes Affect us and What We Can Do, 2011
Claude M. Steele

This book has been chosen for the 2014-2015 One Book, One Northwestern program. The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

Racism in Indian Country, 2009
Dean Chavers

In the face of huge challenges, despite crushing social conditions, Indian people have survived. Racism in Indian Country exposes, for the first time, the degrading and inhuman treatment Indian people have had and continue to endure. This book provides numerous examples including the sterilization of thousands of Indian women without their consent, and the poor treatment Indians receive in our schools, resulting in the worst academic records and the highest dropout rate, 50 percent, of any ethnic group.

For Young Readers

Tia Lola series, 2002 
Julia Alvarez
“When I was ten, we moved to the United States. I left all those aunts behind on the island, but I carried memories of them in my head. Years later, I wanted to write those memories down. I rolled up all those remembered aunts into one aunt. I thought about a lot of the questions I was asking myself when we settled down in this country. What does it mean to come from another country and become an American? What does it mean if you are born here but your parents or grandparents came from somewhere else? I wrote these Tía Lola books mostly to see if I could try to answer some of these questions, but also because I wanted to bring all those aunts back from the dusty past so that they could become a part of the lives of all my readers.” – Julia Alvarez

The Red Umbrella , 2011
Christine Diaz Gonzalez

The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution. In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away and as the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Help Wanted: Short Stories, 1997 
Gary Soto
With real wit and heart, Gary Soto takes readers into the lives of young people in ten funny, heartbreaking tales. Meet Carolina, who writes to Miss Manners for help not just with etiquette but with bigger messes in her life; Javier, who knows the stories his friend Veronica tells him are lies, but can't find a way to prove it--and many other kids, each caught up in the difficulties of figuring out what it means to be alive.

Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems about Growing Up Latino in the U.S., 1994 
edited by Lori Carlson
Growing up Latino in America means speaking two languages, living two lives, learning the rules of two cultures. Cool Salsa celebrates the tones, rhythms, sounds, and experiences of that double life. Here are poems about families and parties, insults and sad memories, hot dogs and mangos, the sweet syllables of Spanish and the snag-toothed traps of English. Here is the glory, and pain, of being Latino American.

The Indigo Notebook, 2009
Laura Resau
Zeeta's life with her free-spirited mother, Layla, is anything but normal. Every year Layla picks another country she wants to live in. This summer they’re in Ecuador, and Zeeta is determined to convince her mother to settle down. Zeeta makes friends with vendors at the town market and begs them to think of upstanding, “normal” men to set up with Layla. There, Zeeta meets Wendell. She learns that he was born nearby, but adopted by an American family. His one wish is to find his birth parents, and Zeeta agrees to help him. But when Wendell’s biological father turns out to be involved in something very dangerous, Zeeta wonders whether she’ll ever get the chance to tell her mom how she really feels—or to enjoy her deepening feelings for Wendell.


We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools, 2006 
Gary R. Howard
Once again, in this expanded Second Edition, Gary Howard outlines what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. Howard brings his book up to date with a new introduction and a new chapter that speak directly to current issues such as closing the achievement gap, and to recent legislation such as No Child Left Behind. With our nation’s student population becoming ever more diverse, and teachers remaining largely White, this book continues to facilitate and deepen the discussion of race and social justice in education.

The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, 2009
Gloria Ladson-Billings
This new edition of the critically acclaimed book revisits the eight teachers who were profiled in the first edition and introduces us to new teachers who are current exemplars of good teaching. She shows that culturally relevant teaching is not a matter of race, gender, or teaching style. What matters most is a teacher's efforts to work with the unique strengths a child brings to the classroom. This brilliant mixture of scholarship and storytelling challenges us to envision intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant classrooms that have the power to improve the lives of not just African American students, but all children. This new edition also includes questions for reflection.

Teaching What Really Happened, 2009
James W. Loewen

How did people get here? Why did Europe win? Why Did the South Secede? In Teaching What Really Happened, Loewen goes beyond the usual textbook-dominated viewpoints to illuminate a wealth of intriguing, often hidden facts about America's past. Calling for a new way to teach history, this book will help teachers move beyond traditional textbooks to tackle difficult but important topics like conflicts with Native Americans, slavery, and race relations.

Everyday Anti-Racism: Getting Real about Race in School, 2008
Mica Pollack, editor
Which acts by educators are "racist" and which are "antiracist"? How can an educator constructively discuss complex issues of race with students and colleagues? Leading educators deal with the most challenging questions about race in school, describing concrete ways to analyze classroom interactions that may or may not be "racial," deal with racial inequality and "diversity". Questions following each essay prompt readers to examine and discuss everyday issues of race and opportunity in their own classrooms and schools.


Center for Social Inclusion
The Center for Social Inclusion identifies causes of racial inequity growing out of public policy. CSI develops tools, strategies and leadership for dismantling what we call structural racism, the many unintentional ways in which race-neutral decisions about how to allocate resources and opportunities exclude communities of color and weaken our society as a whole.

Everyday Democracy
A national leader in the field of civic participation and community change, Everyday Democracy helps people of different backgrounds and views talk and work together to solve problems and create communities that work for everyone. We place particular emphasis on the connection between complex public issues and structural racism. Issues addressed include: poverty and economic development; education reform; racial equity; early childhood development; police-community relations; youth and neighborhood concerns.

Institute on Race & Poverty
The Institute on Race and Poverty (IRP) investigates the ways that policies and practices disproportionately affect people of color and the disadvantaged. A core purpose for IRP’s work is to ensure that people have access to opportunity. Another is to help the places where people live develop in ways that both promote access to opportunity and help maintain regional stability.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

National Association for Multicultural Education
NAME is a non-profit organization that advances and advocates for equity and social justice through multicultural education. They encourage proactively reframing public debate and impacting current and emerging policies in ways that advance social, political, economic and educational equity through advocacy, position papers, policy statements, etc. Also serves as a clearinghouse of resources about educational equity and social justice.

National Indian Education Association
The National Indian Education Association is a membership-based organization committed to increasing educational excellence, opportunities and resources for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students while protecting our cultural and linguistic traditions.

National MultiCultural Institute
The mission of the National MultiCultural Institute (NMCI) is to work with individuals, organizations, and communities to facilitate personal and systemic change in order to build an inclusive society that is strengthened and empowered by its diversity. Through the development of strategic initiatives, partnerships, and programs that promote an inclusive and just society,

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation.

Poverty and Race Research Action Council
The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC's primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues.

Race: The Power of an Illusion
Materials, activities, resources to accompany your use of this PBS series.

Race Forward (Formerly Applied Research Center)
Race Forward is a racial justice think tank using media, research, and activism to promote solutions. Our mission is to popularize racial justice and prepare people to fight for it.

Teaching Tolerance
Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and abroad. “Teaching Tolerance” magazine is sent at no cost to teachers, and contains practical ways to address equity issues at all grade levels. Scientific surveys demonstrate that our programs help students learn respect for differences and bolster teacher practice.










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