Race Reading List

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, Yale Univ. Press (2001) 
Unmatched for a first-hand description of slavery, by an African-American who escaped the system and the South and became the leading civil rights activist of the 19th century.

Black Reconstruction

W.E.B. DuBois, Simon & Schuster (1999) 
Remarkable account of what did and didn’t happen after the Civil War and why by the leading black radical intellectual of his time. 

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America

Manning Marable, South End
A classic study of race and class in the United States, Marable’s book has become a standard text for courses in African American politics and history. In this new edition of his classic work, Marable examines developments in the political economy of racism in the United States and assesses shifts in the American political terrain since the first edition was published in 1983.

A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas

Fantasies of the Master Race
Ward Churchill, City Lights
Examines the definition of genocide and explores the indigenous holocaust and its denial. 
Literature and art crafted by the dominant culture are an insidious political force, disinforming people who might otherwise develop a clearer understanding of Native American struggles. Chosen as an Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights.

Women, Race and Class

Angela Davis, Random House
Longtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women’s movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women’s suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women’s movement have divided its own membership. Davis’ message is clear: If we ever want equality, we’re gonna have to fight for it together

Ain’t I A Woman
bell hooks, South End 
A groundbreaking work of feminist history and theory analyzing the complex relations between various forms of oppression. Ain’t I a Woman examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women’s movement, and black women’s involvement with feminism.
Detroit: I Do Mind Dying

A Study in Urban Revolution
by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin, South End
Foreword by Manning Marable
Few books have done as much to shape the consciousness of a generation of activists. The new South End Press edition makes available the full text of this out-of-print classic—along with a new foreword by Manning Marable, interviews with participants in DRUM, and reflections on the political developments over the past three decades by Georgakas and Surkin. The new edition includes commentary by Detroit activists Sheila Murphy Cockrel, Edna Ewell Watson, Michael Hamlin, and Herb Boyd. All of them reflect not only on the tremendous achievements of DRUM and the League, but on their political legacy—for Detroit, for U.S. politics, and for them personally.


White Nation
Fantasies of White supremacy
in a multicultural society
Ghassan Hage, Pluto Press Australia, 1998
Is a desire for a White Nation limited to “racists”? Ghassan Hage, who lectures in Anthropology at the University of Sydney, argues that White racists and tolerant, White multiculturalists both see their nation structured around a White culture which they control, with Aboriginal people and migrants as exotic objects – what the author calls the “White Nation” fantasy.
The book is a systematic critique of governmental multiculturalism, and using the Australian experience Hage examines White reactions to Australia’s immigration program.

I May Not Get There With You

The True Martin Luther King 
Eric Michael Dyson, (NYT: Simon and Schuster, 2000). 
Among other things rescues King fromt the clutches of conservatism both black and white, showing that King did not completely reject color consciousness but showing also that King was a democratic socialist who saw the need to tackle class inequality in all its shades and contours. Caught some heat for also telling some probably accurate tales about King’s promiscuity, patriarchy, and plaigarism, but still claims (with some justice) that King was the greatest American in history.

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