Charlottesville in Context: A Reading List

By Gwen Glazer, Librarian
August 18, 2017
Charlottesville 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

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Jackson, 1964: And Other Dispatches from Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America by Calvin Trillin

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

The March series by John Lewis, co-written by Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3

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

Revolutionary Dissent: How the Founding Generation Created the Freedom of Speech by Stephen Solomon

Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History by Eric Foner

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Race and Civil Rights on the NYPL Podcast

Podcast #150: Emmett Till: True Stories of an American Tragedy

NYPL Podcast #153: Civil Rights Journeys Across Generations

Podcast #157: Women's and Girls' Lives Matter

More Resources

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:

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.