Recommended Reading: Black Liberation, Organization Strategy, and the History of Discrimination in the United States

Black Lives Matter has given the black community a unified voice since 2013. However, protests and the fight for equality in the United States for people of color extend back further than this decade. Below are recommended titles from our Center for Local and Global History department which help bring historical context to the black liberation movements, the organization strategies, and the history of discrimination in the U.S.

Recommended Titles

Why We Can’t Wait
by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s best-selling account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963.

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir 
by Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic audiobook memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love.

How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance by Kenrya Rankin and Akiba Solomon

This celebration of Black resistance, from protests to art to sermons to joy, offers a blueprint for the fight for freedom and justice — and ideas for how each of us can contribute

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young

From the co-founder of, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the absurdities and anxieties of being Black in America.

They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

A deeply reported book that brings alive the quest for justice in the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray, offering both unparalleled insight into the reality of police violence in America and an intimate, moving portrait of those working to end it.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson).