As Black Lives Matter protests continue in the United States and across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death, reading has never been so fundamental.
Actions speak louder than words – and we do urge you to donate and sign petitions – but if you're a non-black person it is also important to educate yourself about the insidious roots of anti-black racism.
Step up as an ally in this fight by learning about history and seeking out the stories of those who have been affected by racial prejudice.
Knowledge is power, and here are nine essential books to help us all begin to put anti-racism into practice and exact real change.
‘The Fire Next Time’ by James Baldwin (1963)
Piercing the heart of ‘the negro problem’ in 60s America, Baldwin’s incendiary work is divided into two personal essays, including one that reflects on his early life in Harlem.
‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou (1969)
The American author’s debut memoir documents her childhood in the American south in the 30s, and the racism and trauma she endured. Poetic and powerful.
‘Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement’ by Angela Davis (1974)
In a collection of essays, speeches and interviews, the activist and scholar dissects the struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.
‘White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son’ by Tim Wise (2004)
Part memoir/part essay, Wise examines how racial privilege has shaped the lives of white Americans – touching on everything from education and employment to criminal justice.
‘Men We Reaped’ by Jesmyn Ward (2013)
Holding a mirror to the shocking reality faced by many young black men in America, Ward writes about those who have died because of who they are and where they are from.
‘They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement’ by Wesley Lowery (2016)
A behind-the-scenes account of the police killings that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, and the young men and women behind it.
‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race,’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)
Inspired by her 2014 blog of the same name, award-winning journalist Eddo-Lodge reveals what it is like to be a person of colour in Britain today. Essential reading.
‘White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism’ by Robin DiAngelo (2018)
Showing us how racial prejudice and inequality has become the bedrock of American society, DiAngelo calls on white people to understand and discuss racism.
‘How to be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X Kendi (2019)
Having an awareness of racism simply isn’t good enough as Kendi urges readers to imagine what an antiracist society might look like and the active role they should take in building it.