Charlottesville in Context: A Reading List
Events of the past week have left many of us struggling for understanding. In such times, it can help to turn to books and authors to help us see the world through a broader lens.
The Library always seeks to provide information, so we’ve assembled a list of books—on bigotry, white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, social justice, freedom of speech, and more—that can lend context to the events in Charlottesville and beyond.
Racism and Anti-Semitism in America
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Q. Whitman
The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan by Laurence Leamer
The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau
Activism and Social Change in America
Necessary Trouble by Sarah Jaffe
Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism by L.A. Kauffman
Hope Dies Last, interviews with activists by Studs Terkel
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
History of Freedom of Speech and Nonviolent Resistance
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
Race and Civil Rights on the NYPL Podcast
Check out our catalog for important primary sources that tell their own stories, such as The Ferguson Report from the Department of Justice. Several of NYPL’s databases also have invaluable primary sources and historical writing, such as:
African American Experience (up-to-date primary sources, including material on the Black Lives Matter movement)
Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective (with perspective on Confederate statues)
Independent Voices (digitized independent magazines, such as campus newspapers, many with a protest focus from the 1970s and 80s)
Left Index (a guide to the diverse literature of the left)
Finally, graduate students at the University of Virginia put together a Charlottesville Syllabus for further reading, as did the website JSTOR Daily. And for recommendations for relevant children’s books, the Institute for Humane Education and The New York Times have several suggestions.
Rhonda Evans contributed the list of databases.