Yes, today is two-post day. Sometimes I just cannot STFU.
There has been an ongoing conversation for the past few weeks on social media — I followed it on Instagram — about the racism in, or more specifically, the non-welcoming nature of, the fiber community to BIPOC. It all started from a problematic post by Karen Templar on her Fringe Association blog. Casey started a thread on Ravelry that has links to that post plus many of the original, eloquent IG posts by POC.
I can recognize my own racism, and I can speak out when I see it happening elsewhere, but that is not enough, so I am sharing this list of readings put forth in the Washington Post The Daily 202 email. The writer “…reached out on Sunday [2/10/2019] to some of the nation’s preeminent historians to ask if they would recommend a title or two for [embattled Virginia governor Ralph] Northam. Several happen to live in the commonwealth.” That last sentence explains why it may seem that the list focuses on Virginia.
Here is the massive list, sorted by Goodreads ratings (# of ✮ out of a possible 5). It seems to me that everyone ought to read at least one of these; I am ashamed to say I have read none. I have bolded the ones written by black authors; it seems to me that those might be the most authentic.
Missing from the list are works by Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Frantz Fanon, Steven Biko, and other well-known black authors, probably because the WaPo writer asked historians for their recommendations.
- They Were Her Property: White Women and the Economy of American Slavery by Stephanie Jones-Rogers; 2019. 320 pp; 4.63✮
- Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi; 2016. 592 pp; 4.56✮
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo; 2018. audiobook; 4.53✮
- Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom; 2019. 224 pp; 4.48✮
- Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology by Deirdre Cooper Owens; 20107. ebook; 4.46✮
- Heavy by Kiese Laymon; 2018. 256 pp; 4.45✮
- We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates; 2017. 367 pp; 4.45✮
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson; 2016. 256 pp; 4.43✮
- Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life by Karen Fields and Barbara Fields; 2012. 310 pp; 4.13✮ Ed Baptist; 2013. 498 pp; 4.43✮
- Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight; 2018. 912 pp; 4.36✮
- The Captive’s Quest for Freedom (Slaveries Since Emancipation) by R.J.M.Blackett; 2019. 483 pp; 4.33✮
- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuDois; 1903. 288 pp; 4.27✮
- To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice by Michael K. Honey; 2018. 256 pp; 4.26✮
- The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C Vann Woodward; 1955. 245 pp; 4.11✮
- A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration by Steven Hahn; 2005. 624 pp; 4.07✮. 2004 Pulitzer winner.
- Race and Reunion by David Blight; 2001. 528 pp; 4.07✮
- White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 by Winthrop Jordan; 1968. 651 pp; 4.19✮ (I could not find a photo of the author online so I do not know if he was African-American.)
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity by Beverly Daniel Tatum; 1997. 320 pp; 4.17✮
- The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry; 2017. 256 pp; 4.16✮
- America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis; 2016. 238 pp; 4.13✮
- The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor; 2014. 624 pp; 4.11✮ 2014 Pulitzer winner.
- American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund Morgan; 1975. 464 pp; 4.11✮
- Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance by Stephanie Camp; 2004. 224 pp; 4.1✮
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; 2017. 285 pp; 4.04✮
- Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South by Brenda Stevenson. 4.03
- Legacy of the Civil War by Robert Penn Warren; 1961. 109 pp; 3.98✮
- Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 by Grace Elizabeth Hale; 1998. 448 pp; 3.98✮
- The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class by David Roediger; 1991. 200 pp; 3.97✮
- The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed; 2008. 798 pp; 3.9✮
- Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade by Maurie McInnes; 2011. 286 pp; 3.86✮
- Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake & Lowcountry by Philip Morgan; 1998. 736 pp; 3.85✮
- Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora by Stephanie Smallwood; 2007. 273 pp; 3.74✮
- Myne Owne Ground: Race and . Freedom of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640 – 1676 by Timothy Breen and Stephen Innes; 160 pp; 2004 (25th anniversary edition). 3.56✮
- Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson. 344 pp.; 3.5✮
- American City, Southern Place: A Cultural History of Antebellum Richmond by Gregg Kimball; 2000. 392 pp; 3.25✮
Kat, What a great list!! I want to read Michelle Obama’s book. I will email you
An article titled “White Fragility” by Robin D’Angelo is here: https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116
Thanks for the list. Shockingly, my library has Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book. I’ll pick that up when we are dug out.
I tend to keep my mouth shut in discussions like this, because; I’m white and I’m stupid, and I’m pretty sure I have nothing worthwhile to say. I’m glad this discussion is happening. I’m sorry people get treated like this.
Notes on the state of Virginia by jefferson here:
I haven’t gotten far in it.
Thanks for this list! I’m madly making notes here!
I can recommend “So you want to talk about race” by Ijeoma Oluo – very practical and thought-provoking. I’m currently listening to James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” and have a couple of his novels cued up for next. I can see a bunch of titles here that I’m going to add to my library list.
(I didn’t know about the Rav stuff, but racism has been weighing heavy on my mind lately. My dad is trapped in the horrors of conservative media. I’m absolutely appalled by what comes out of those people’s mouths.)
Yay: recommended reading list! A friend recommends _Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?_; I haven’t read it myself. At 187 pages, _White Fragility_ is a quick read, if you need one of those. Layla F. Saad’s _Me and White Supremacy_ may be of interest to anyone who’d like to wrestle with these issues via a workbook and journaling (Google it for the link to the download).
I have read a few from that list, including White Fragility most recently. Dale highly recommends Race and Reunion, he actually has a signed copy of that one since he met the author a few years ago. We can do so much better than we’re doing and I think the first step is educating ourselves by reading books like the ones on this list.
I have been working through Layla Saad’s workbook Me and White Supremacy. It has been an eye opening experience. I have read several of these books, and am on the wait list for others. It is a long overdue topic of discussion. Thank you for the list of books!
Having read this I believed it was really enlightening.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this
information together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments.
But so what, it was still worthwhile!