We believe ourselves to be accepting, rational and inclusive individuals, don't we? But, are we really? Delve deeper into the topic of racism and use this education to gain the understanding of where we are, how we got here, and what we can do to make our world a better place for all.

 

BOOKS THAT WE HAVE READ, DIGESTED AND DISCUSSED:

Oprah's book club selection - summer of 2018, this is a powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

A #1 New York Times bestseller is also now a major motion picture. It is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

In 1989, Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

This New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

This is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. It captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

America's Unholy Ghosts examines the DNA of the ideologies that shape our nation, ideologies that are as American as apple pie but that too often justify and perpetuate racist ideas and racial inequalities. MLK challenged us to investigate the "ideational roots of race hate" and Ghosts does just that by examining a philosophical "trinity"--Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith--whose works collectively helped to institutionalize, imagine, and ingrain racist ideologies into the hearts and minds of the American people.

In this book, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas - from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities - that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING FILMS

"A Class Divided" is a 1985 episode of the PBS series Frontline. It profiles the Iowa schoolteacher Jane Elliott and her class of 3rd graders, who took part in a class exercise about discrimination and prejudice in 1970 and reunited in the present day to recall the experience.

  • JUST MERCY - YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix DVD and other providers (fee required)

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.

  • SELMA - Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix DVD and other providers (fee required)

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

  • TRACES OF THE TRADE: A STORY FROM THE DEEP NORTH - Kanopy with a library card # (free)

In this feature documentary, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide.

  • PUSHOUT: THE CRIMINALIZATION OF BLACK GIRLS IN SCHOOL - Prime Video

This is a feature length documentary which takes a close look at the educational, judicial and societal disparities facing black girls.

POWERFUL TV VIEWING
  • THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG - PBS

This is a moving 4-hour, 2-part series from executive producer, host and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, that traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, all the way down to its bedrock role as the site of African American survival and grace, organizing and resilience, thriving and testifying, autonomy and freedom, solidarity and speaking truth to power.

It reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage.

  • DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE & MOBILITY IN AMERICA - PBS

Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences – at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming – of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond – "Driving While Black" explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years – told in large part through the stories of the men, women and children who lived through it.

  • RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR - PBS

Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents this 4-hour documentary series which explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change. The 12 years that composed the post-war Reconstruction era (1865-77) witnessed a seismic shift in the meaning and makeup of our democracy, with millions of former slaves and free black people seeking out their rightful place as equal citizens under the law. Though tragically short-lived, this bold democratic experiment was, in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, a ‘brief moment in the sun’ for African Americans, when they could advance, and achieve, education, exercise their right to vote, and run for and win public office.

  • AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE FIGHT FOR A BLACK MIDDLE CLASS - PBS

“Have black Americans had a fair shot at the American dream?” acclaimed journalist Bob Herbert asks. He probes the harsh and often brutal discrimination that has made it extremely difficult for African-Americans to establish a middle-class standard of living, while also exploring the often heroic efforts of Black families to pursue the American Dream in the face of unrelenting barriers.

  • AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: "VOICE OF FREEDOM" - PBS

On Easter Sunday, 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Inscribed on the walls of the monument behind her were the words “all men are created equal.” Barred from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race, Anderson would sing for the American people in the open air. Hailed as a voice that “comes around once in a hundred years” by maestros in Europe and widely celebrated by both white and black audiences at home, her fame hadn’t been enough to spare her from the indignities and outright violence of racism and segregation. Voice of Freedom interweaves Anderson’s rich life story with this landmark moment in history, exploring fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy, and the American soul.

  • AMERICAN MASTERS: "HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE" - PBS

A documentary that tells the inspiring story of how 6 iconic African American women entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

DEFINITIONS AND CORE CONCEPTS

A key path to combating racism is to have a clear understanding of the definitions and core concepts. You can reference the following blog published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation:

RACIAL JUSTICE DEFINITIONS