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Essential Listening: Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism

A list of recommended reading to educate yourself on racism, anti-racism, white privilege, and black history.

Playlist Tags: Riverwalk Books topic: antiracism black authors topic: black lives matter

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How to Be an Antiracist

By Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Ibram X. Kendi
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

How to Be an Antiracist

“Among the multi-faceted array of antiracist literature newly published in the last two years, Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be an Antiracist stands alone as a definitive source of history and socio-political critique, while offering a new paradigm of thought aimed at paving the way for correcting centuries of social injustice. Hearing this visionary and transformative work in Kendi’s own voice will no doubt bring it all straight into your heart, humanizing his ideas, and firmly setting you on your own path to doing the work of becoming an antiracist.”

Oblong Books image Noelle, Oblong Books
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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

By Robin DiAngelo & Michael Eric Dyson
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

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

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white... Read more »

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The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: JD Jackson & Colson Whitehead
Length: 6 hours 45 minutes

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

“A brilliant black boy, in the wrong car, meets the wrong cop. A for-profit penal system puts him in a reform school run by abusers, with a suspicious graveyard out back. What happens next is... a powerful arc bending toward justice? Colson Whitehead delivers a book about suffering that does not revel in suffering, a book about keeping soul in a broken world, a book that leaves the reader wanting the hero to embrace the person he has become.”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
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The Skin We're In

A Year of Black Resistance and Power

By Desmond Cole
Narrated by: Desmond Cole
Length: 8 hours 14 minutes

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2020 TORONTO BOOK AWARD

A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We're In will spark a national conversation, influence policy, and inspire activists.


In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole... Read more »

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Heavy

An American Memoir

By Kiese Laymon
Narrated by: Kiese Laymon
Length: 6 hours 17 minutes

Heavy

“"I wanted to write a lie," Kiese Laymon says in the opening pages of his brutal, beautiful memoir, Heavy. The book is written in the second person, addressed to his mother, with whom Laymon shares a turbulent, intimate relationship. She feeds his mind with books, but critiques the way Laymon feeds his body as he struggles with his weight. She is his best friend, yet demands excellence through regular beatings. And yet, Laymon's complicated love for his mother is absolute. It is palpable in his voice as he reads the words he wrote for his mother, as he tells you his story of being a black boy, a black man, in Mississippi and America. This is a book that will knock you flat on your back. This is a book that will make you sob in the grocery store. Laymon had me captivated from the very first word he spoke. It was a privilege to listen.”

Square Books image Maggie, Square Books
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute... Read more »

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This Will Be My Undoing

Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America

By Morgan Jerkins
Narrated by: Morgan Jerkins
Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

This Will Be My Undoing

“This book ravaged and then healed my weary soul. A micro and macro look at the exhaustion and triumph of black womanhood, Jerkins' essays are poignant enough on their own. When linked together in her book, the pieces become the subtle knife cutting through the membrane of gender and racial disparity that covers our country. Jerkins uses herself not simply as a reference point, but as a dissection, laid on the table and explained.”

WORD Bookstores image Hannah Oliver Depp, WORD Bookstores
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The Underground Railroad (Television Tie-in)

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.

Cora is a slave on a cotton... Read more »

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Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

By Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Christopher Dontrell Piper
Length: 18 hours 32 minutes

WINNER OF THE 2016 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER IN RACE AND CIVIL RIGHTS
FINALIST FOR THE 2016 NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION
THE MOST AMBITIOUS BOOK OF 2016 —The Washington Post
A BOSTON GLOBE BEST BOOK OF 2016
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF 2016
A CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF... Read more »

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Me and White Supremacy

Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

By Layla F. Saad
Narrated by: Layla F. Saad
Length: 5 hours 19 minutes

Me and White Supremacy

“Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

And Other Conversations About Race

By Beverly Daniel Tatum
Narrated by: Beverly Daniel Tatum
Length: 13 hours 27 minutes

The classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism -- now fully revised and updated

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of... Read more »

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Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition)

A Story of Justice and Redemption

By Bryan Stevenson
Narrated by: Bryan Stevenson
Length: 11 hours 10 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • 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.

“[Bryan Stevenson’s] dedication to fighting for justice...
Read more »

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Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Narrated by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Length: 3 hours 35 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT
 
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal... Read more »

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Mindful of Race

Transforming Racism from the Inside Out

By Ruth King
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 7 hours 56 minutes

"Racism is a heart disease," writes Ruth King, "and it's curable." Exploring a crucial topic seldom addressed in meditation instruction, this revered teacher takes to her pen to shine a compassionate, provocative, and practical light into a deeply neglected and world-changing domain profoundly relevant to all of us. With Mindful of Race, Ruth... Read more »

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When They Call You a Terrorist

A Black Lives Matter Memoir

By Patrisse Cullors & asha bandele
Narrated by: Patrisse Cullors & Angela Davis
Length: 6 hours 12 minutes

"Narrating her own work, Patrisse Khan-Cullors shares the salient moments of her life that led her to become a founder of Black Lives Matter...pain, frustration, and joy [emblazon] each word she utters." — AudioFile Magazine

This program is read by Patrisse Cullors and includes a bonus conversation.

The emotional and powerful story of one of the...
Read more »

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The Fire This Time

A New Generation Speaks about Race

By Jesmyn Ward
Narrated by: Cherise Boothe, Michael Early, Kevin R. Free, Korey Jackson & Susan Spain
Length: 5 hours 36 minutes

National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time. In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The... Read more »

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So You Want to Talk about Race

By Ijeoma Oluo
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 7 hours 41 minutes

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk about Race, editor-at-large of the Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in... Read more »

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Good Talk

A Memoir in Conversations

By Mira Jacob & Full Cast
Narrated by: Mira Jacob, Kivlighan de Montebello & Full Cast
Length: 2 hours 46 minutes

A bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.

“By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it’s exactly the book America needs at this moment.”—Celeste Ng

How brown is too brown?

Can Indians be racist?
What does... Read more »

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 10th Anniversary Edition

By Michelle Alexander
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 16 hours 56 minutes

Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexanders The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of... Read more »

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America's Original Sin

Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

By Jim Wallis
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 10 hours 9 minutes

America's problem with race has deep roots, with the country's foundation tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another. Racism is truly our nation's original sin. "It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis. Fifty years ago, Wallis was... Read more »

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