Being an anti-racist takes ongoing work. The staff at the Topsfield Town Library has put together this page of antiracist resources to challenge, educate, and inspire change. Subjects range from exploring the history of racism in our country, how it pervades our institutions, and steps we can take to make the world a better place. The resources listed below are just a sample of the entirety of offerings available through the library and MVLC. We will provide links to all possible ways to access each material! At the end of this section, we provide search terms where you can start your search through our library’s catalog, or you can always consult a librarian! Our antiracist reading list for children and teens can be viewed here.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Based on the viral Instagram challenge, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves and, in turn, help other white people do better, too.
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Anti-Racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility (the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially) develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men — bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Racist ideas in America have along and lingering history. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Since it was first published in 2010, The New Jim Crow has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community wide reads; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, and more. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexanders unforgettable argument that ‘we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.’
Long Time Coming by Michael Eric Dyson
Long Time Coming grapples with the cultural and social forces that have shaped our nation in the brutal crucible of race. In five beautifully argued chapters-each addressed to a black martyr from Breonna Taylor to Rev. Clementa Pinckney-Dyson traces the genealogy of anti-blackness from the slave ship to the street corner where Floyd lost his life-and where America gained its will to confront the ugly truth of systemic racism. Ending with a poignant plea for hope, Dyson’s exciting new book points the way to social redemption.
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted. “The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don’t act now, if you don’t address race immediately, there very well may be no future.” Source
Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
The classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism-now fully revised and updated. Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides.
We Too Sing America by Deepa Iyer
Activist Deepa Iyer catalogs recent racial flashpoints, from the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to the relentless opposition to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and to the Park 51 Community Center in Lower Manhattan. Iyer places the hate violence, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in a broader context — that of an American racial landscape undergoing a rapid and radical demographic transformation.
The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee
The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.
Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them.
The 1619 Project, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine
The animating idea of The 1619 Project is that our national narrative is more accurately told if we begin not on July 4, 1776, but in late August of 1619, when a ship arrived in Jamestown bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa.
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition–if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
Black Ghost of Empire by Kris Manjapra
Timely, lucid, and crucial to our understanding of the ongoing “anti-mattering” of Black people, Black Ghost of Empire shines a light into the deep gap between the idea of slavery’s end and its actual perpetuation in various forms-exposing the shadows that linger to this day.
I’m Still Here: Black dignity in a world made for whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown highlights how white middle-class evangelicalism has participated in the rise of racial hostility, and encourages the reader to confront apathy and recognize God’s ongoing work in the world.
Reading Diverse Authors
Looking to read authors with diverse perspectives? We urge you to take advantage of our Personalized Reading Recommendations page and note that you are looking for diverse authors, and our talented Readers’ Advisory team will find some excellent titles for you to read! We also recommend visiting the Novelist database (access with your library card). With this database, under “Advanced Search,” you can choose, among many other options, the Author’s Cultural Identity or Gender Identity drop down menus. Other resources include Diverse Bookfinder and We Need Diverse Books.
Other Antiracist Resources
Note: The links under Reading Lists, Podcasts, and Other Resources categories direct to resources outside of the MVLC and Topsfield Town Library.
The Diverse BookFinder is a comprehensive collection of children’s picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC).
Ibram X. Kendi Antiracist Reading List
A reading list compiled by scholar Ibram X. Kendi for the New York Times highlighting antiracist reading materials.
Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List
From the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
This List is Anti-Racist
Over 100 titles for all ages, posted by Brain Lair Books.
With your library card
Black Lives Matter Collection in Overdrive
E-books and e-audiobooks to download.
Race & Class Studies from Kanopy
Log in to browse and stream additional categories of documentaries and feature films.
Racism in Post-Emancipation America
Featured content from Gale’s U.S. History database.
Podcasts in Color
Directory of podcasts from people of color.
24 Podcasts That Confront Racism in America
From the Bellow Collective of writers, journalists, and other voices.
An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.
Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor.
Black Perspectives is deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity.
Talking About Race
Tools and guidance from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Center for Antiracist Research
The mission of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research is to convene researchers and practitioners from various disciplines to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice.
Subject search terms to discover more
The following search terms can be inputted in our online catalog to bring up different resources available through the MVLC. This list is not exhaustive!
• Social Justice
• Race Discrimination
• Race Relations
• African Americans
• Asian Americans
• Hate Crimes
• Hispanic Americans
• Arab Americans
Do not hesitate to reach out to a librarian on staff for more information, or to find more resources! Are we missing something? Please feel free to reach out to us to add more.