Summer Session Hours

Learn them here!
June 09, 2020

Structural Racism / Anti-Racist Reading List

A list of readings, podcasts, and videos to help understand and act against structural racism in American society.
by Derek Curtis

Structural Racism / Anti-Racist Reading List

In response to the heinous and heartbreaking violence committed against George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, the collective team at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library stands in solidarity with our black and brown students, faculty, and staff. We stand with love in our hearts, with hands ready to help, and minds ready to learn and listen as allies to those marginalized communities who must contend with the realities of systemic racism and violence on a daily basis.

We at the OWHL are committed to supporting this work, and have cultivated a list of resources that may be helpful to you.

In this moment we must take action to support, honor, and love Black Lives with courage and conviction. We are reminded of the courage of seventeen-year-old Darnella Frazier whose act to bear witness and document the violent murder of George Floyd through a video would mobilize millions across the nation and around the world to protest the killing. Let us all move forward, at this moment in time, with the same courage.

A Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Explains Why This Time is Different [New Yorker]

The American Nightmare [The Atlantic]

The Destructive Power of Despair [New York Times]

Resisting Anti-Black Racism OWHL Guide - books and e-books

Police and Racism / Police Abolition / De-funding Police

How Racist Policing took over American Cities [Vox]

What does Police Abolition Mean? [Boston Review]

Cities Ask if It’s Time to Defund Police and ‘Reimagine’ Public Safety [New York Times]

Reading Towards Abolition [The Abusable Past]

No More Money for the Police [New York Times]

Are Police Obsolete? Breaking Cycles of Violence through Abolition Democracy [Cardozo Law Review]

Slavery and the Origins of the American Police State [Medium]

The Racist Roots of American Policing [The Conversation]

“Starve the Beast”: On Defunding the Police [The Nation]

How Cities Offload the Cost of Police Brutality [CityLab]

The George Floyd Killing in Minneapolis Exposes the Failures of Police Reform [The Intercept]

Why Defunding the Police is Key to a Just Transition, with J. Mijin Cha [Dissent]

No More Cop Unions [The New Republic]

Why does the Minneapolis PD Look Like a Military Unit? [Washington Post]

How Police Became Paramilitaries [New York Review of Books]

The Pentagon’s Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police [Wired]

A Closer Look at Police Killings This Year Debunks a Big Myth About Community Violence [Huffington Post]

Criminal Justice Fact Sheet [NAACP]

Deadly Force, in Black and White [ProPublica]

Driving While Black [Washington Monthly]

From Warriors to Guardians: Recommitting American Police Culture to Democratic Ideals [Harvard Kennedy School / New Perspectives in Policing Bulletin]

Law Enforcement and Violence: The Divide Between Black & White Americans [The Associated Press / The NORC Center for Public Affairs Research]

Machine Bias: Software Used to Predict Future Criminals is Biased [ProPublica]

Mapping Police Violence

Police Killings of Blacks: Here is What the Data Say [New York Times]

Sandra Bland Died One Year Ago [Huffington Post]

Should Black Lives Matter focus on “Black on Black” Murders? [The Atlantic]

The Problem Is Over-policing [TruthOut]

The Stunning Facts on Crime and Imprisonment Everyone is Ignoring [Washington Monthly]

The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States [Center for American Progress]

Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop [The Nation]

Mass Incarceration

“A System of Racial and Social Control” [Michelle Alexander | PBS]

How the War on Drugs Damages Black Social Mobility [Brookings Institution]

Race and The Drug War [Drug Policy Alliance]

Racial Disparities in Sentencing [American Civil Liberties Union]

Racial Disparity in Sentencing [The Sentencing Project]

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration [The Atlantic]

The Impact of Incarceration on Wage Mobility and Inequality [American Sociological Review]

Economic Justice

20 Facts About U.S. Inequality That Everyone Should Know About [Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality]

Five Bleak Facts on Black Opportunity [Brookings Institution]

How Black Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults [The Atlantic]

Race and Poverty, Fifty Year After The March [The New Yorker]

Saving Horatio Alger: Equality, Opportunity, and The American Dream [Brookings Institution]

The Case for Reparations [The Atlantic]

The Color of Debt: How Collections Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods [ProPublica]

The Making of Ferguson [Economic Policy Institute]

Why Small Debts Matter So Much to Black Lives [ProPublica]

Racism and Health Disparities

The Color of Coronavirus: COVID-19 Deaths by Race and Ethnicity in The U.S. [APM Research Lab]

Structural Racism and Health Inequities [Du Bois Review]

COVID-19, Health Disparities, and Structural Racism [Urban Institute]

What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look like State by State [NPR]

What We Know about the Covid-19 Race Gap [The Nation]

Financial & Health Impacts of Covid-19 Vary Widely by Race & Ethnicity [Pew Research]

Black Workers, the Coronavirus, and the Preexisting Conditions of Racism and Economic Inequality [Economic Policy Institute]

Housing Segregation | Redlining

A Tax on Blackness [Slate]

America’s Insidious Eviction Problem [The Atlantic]

How We Built the Ghettos [The Daily Beast]

Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law [ProPublica]

Redlining is Alive and Well - and Evolving [CityLab]

The Racist Housing Policy that Made Your Neighborhood [The Atlantic]

The Threat to Detroit’s Rebound Isn’t Crime or The Economy, It’s the Mortgage Industry [NextCity]

Education | Re-Segregation of Schools

American Schools Are More Segregated Now Than In 1968 [Think Progress]

America’s Public Schools Remain Highly Segregated [Urban Institute]

Black Students’ Lives Matter [Rethinking Schools]

Brown v. Board: “With An Even Hand” [Library of Congress]

Does Expanding School Choice Increase Segregation? [Brookings Institution]

Modern-Day Segregation in Public Schools [The Atlantic]

The Narrative of School Failure and Why We Must Pay Attention to Segregation in Educational Policy [Albert Shanker Institute]

Race and Schools: The Need For Action [National Education Association]

School Segregation and Racial Achievement Gaps [Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis]

School Segregation, The Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson [ProPublica]

Segregation Now [ProPublica]

The Cost of Balancing Academia and Racism [The Atlantic]

The Problem We All Live With [This American Life]

The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts [Frontline]

The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males [Schott Foundation for Public Education]

Why Our Schools Are Segregated [Educational Leadership]

Other Reading Lists

“Black History in Three Acts” Reading List [Robin D.G. Kelley | Boston Review]

When Political Resistance Turns Violent Reading List [Rosie Gillies | Boston Review]

1619 Syllabus [Rosie Gillies | Boston Review]

Essential Reads on White Supremacy [Rosie Gillies | Boston Review]

An Uprising Reader [Dissent]

Reading Towards Abolition [The Abusable Past]


Justice In America with Josie Duffy Rice

1619 Podcast

Intersectionality Matters!

Seeing White

Throughline Podcast

Code Switch

Come Through

The United States of Anxiety

The Stakes

Afropunk - Solution Sessions

Hi-Phi Nation: Crime and Punishment



70 Million


Valerie Wilson | Economic Policy Institute:

America’s Racist Economy, with Valerie Wilson

Adolph Reed | Villanova University :

“Race and Class in the Age of Obama”

Kathryn Edin, Bruce Western & William Julius Wilson | Harvard Institute of Politics:

“A Conversation With Ta-Nehisi Coates”

University of Chicago | Institute of Politics:

“Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Case for Reparations"

Chicago Humanities Festival:

“Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me”

Chicago Humanities Festival:

“Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me”

Khalil Gibran Muhammad | Radcliffe Institute:

“How Numbers Lie: Intersectional Violence and the Quantification of Race”

Jelani Cobb | Georgetown University:

“The Half Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today”

Charles Ramsey, Annise Parker, Phillip Atiba Goff, and David Ellwood ~ Harvard University | Institute of Politics:

“Challenges to Democracy: The Future of Policing”

Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Dr. Karla Holloway, Daryl Atkinson, and Melvin Tucker | Duke University Law School:

“Police Brutality and Race”

Peniel Joseph | JFK Library:

“Civil Rights and the Black Power Movement”

Imani Perry:

“Opportunity & Exclusion in Contemporary African American Life”

Michelle Alexander | TEDxColumbus:

“The future of race in America”

Michelle Alexander | University of Chicago

“George E. Kent Lecture, 2013”

Tom Shapiro | Brown University:

"Black Wealth/White Wealth: Hidden Costs of Being Black"

Tom Shapiro | Center for Global Policy Solutions

“History of the Racial Wealth Gap”

Bruce Western | Radcliffe Institute:

“Leaving Prison and Entering Poverty”

Peniel Joseph | Macalaster College:

"From Civil Right to Black Lives Matter"

Professor Peniel Joseph | The LBJ School:

"MLK Jr. & Black Lives Matter"

Michael Eric Dyson | Chicago Humanities Festival:

“The Black Presidency”

Tricia Rose |Brown University

“How Structural Racism Works”

FRONTLINE: When a 16-Year-Old Is Locked Up in a Supermax Prison

“Stickup Kid”

Bruce Western | The Atlantic:

“Mass Incarceration, Visualized”

Randall Kennedy | Claremont McKenna College:

“The Race Line in American Life”

Robert Korstad | Brown University:

“Peeling Back the Layers: Racial Inequality in a New South City”

William Darity, Jr. | Brown University:

“Wealth and Structural Racism”

Tom Shapiro | Brown University:

“Our History Lives in Our Homes”

Anthony Bogues, Jordan T. Camp, Yalidy Matos, Margaret Weir,

& Tricia Rose | Brown University

“A Roundtable Conversation on Structural Racism”

George Lipsitz | Brown University:

“Katrina After 10”

Joshua B. Guild, Malik Rahim, and Cindi Katz | Brown University:

“Environmental Racism and the Future of Urban Social Movements: Katrina After 10”

Ian Haney López | Brown University:

"Dog Whistle Politics: Coded Racism and Inequality for All"

Christopher Burbank ~ Brown University:

“The biased and broken U.S. criminal justice system”

David Roediger | Brown University:

"Thinking Through Slavery..."

Kimberlé Crenshaw | Brown University:

"Race, Gender, Inequality and Intersectionality"

Na'ilah Suad Nasir | Brown University:

"The Culture of Educational Inequality"

Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, Jazz Hayden, Marc Lamont Hill, and Cornel West ~ Riverside Church

“End Mass Incarceration”

Ruth Wilson Gilmore:

“The Economy of Incarceration”

Peniel E. Joseph:

"How Far to the Promised Land?"

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“The Enduring Myth of Black Criminality”

Some Boston Area Anti-Racist Organizations

Boston: Black Lives Matter Boston, SURJ (and SURJ, email to defund prison project), BIJAN (call Gov Baker with demands), Mass Action Against Police Brutality, Families for Justice As Healing and Building Up People Not Prisons Coalition (call Gov Baker with demands), Black Boston, Young Abolitionists, 100% Egleston, Black and Pink, City Life (sign housing guarantee), Ayni Institute, Stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag, Violence in Boston.

Other Stories

Image of a owl looking through binoculars at the words "summer hours".
Summer Hours

Scroll down to see the OWHL's special session summer hours. These that are different that the regular academic year.

OWHL Scholars Logo
OWHL Scholars Symposium

The OWHL Scholars Symposium will take place Friday, May 17th from 4:14 to 8:30pm.