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Anti-racist Reading List

A guide to books that help us understand contemporary issues of racial injustice.



Through the pervasive demonstrations around our nation, we have been called to reckon with injustice that pervades our institutional structures, and as Rowan University President Houshmand said, "to reset the foundations of our lives together." There are many ways to combat injustice, but they start with an examination of our prejudices, biases, and silence, and the historical trajectory that informs them.

One of the transformational tools for this examination is by reading and listening to those who have already deeply examined these issues. Lists of resources have been circulating on social media, in newspapers, and through organizations devoted to bringing about change. Many of these lists of resources for anti-racism have been gathered by the Library Journal and by Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, Associate Professor of Library Science at the University of South Carolina. Rowan University Libraries can provide access to many of these resources through electronic access or in print.

Below are suggestions by Rowan University's own Dr. Monika Shealey, head of the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and prominent authors of antiracist literature. Further resources, including journal articles, e-books, streaming films, music, and other materials, can be discovered through Library Search and Library Databases, and librarians and library staff are here to help provide access to this transformative work. 

Library Search

Recommendations by Monika Shealey

These books currently come from Dr. Monika Williams Shealey's Statement on Racial Profiling, Institutional Racism, and White Allyship:

"During these difficult times and all throughout the year, White individuals need to commit to anti-racism work, and engage in solutions that address systemic and institutional racism."

"Educate yourself! Take action by reading books or watching documentaries on the history of racial oppression and how it continues to affect our society."

"Listen to the stories of those who have experienced racial stereotypes, biases, and racial power dynamics, and seek to broaden your perspectives on these issues. At the same time, do not expect a person of color to “educate” you on these issues, seek out your own education to these topics."

Recommendations from other lists

Dr. Beverly Tatum, psychologist and author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race and Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations About Race in an Era of School Resegregation, recommends (from USA Today):

Layla F. Saad, author of Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, recommends (from The Guardian):

Recommendations by various Black booksellers and publishers (courtesy of Time):

Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist (which appears on most antiracist reading lists) and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (winner of the National Book Award), recommends (from the NYTimes):

Reading for Racial Justice

The University of Minnesota Press has also opened up access to twenty-two books on challenging white supremacy, police violence, and unequal access to criminal justice, education, and resources called Reading for Racial Justice. All are available for free online through August 31.