Racial Justice Resources: Freedom and Mobility (In)Justice

— Braunstein, Ruth. “Boundary-work and the Demarcation of Civil from Uncivil Protest in the United States: Control, Legitimacy, and Political Inequality.” Theory and Society (2018) 47:603–633. It matters who labels and defines protests. What are the connections between slave codes, slave patrols, slave bounty hunters, convict-lease system, control of the courthouse/courts and law enforcement, and present-day issues of injustice? Who determines a “righteous cause” worth breaking the law in protest? Who was hailed and who was condemned for their resistance to federal and state laws in the 1950s-60s?

— Blackett, R. J. M. The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

— Carter, Terrell. 10 Commandments for Good Negroes: What It Means to be Black and Christian in America, Police on a Pedestal: Responsible Policing in a Culture of Worship and Walking the Blue Line: A Police Officer Turned Community Activist Provides Solutions to the Racial Divide. Carter is a pastor, former police officer and current director of diversity initiatives in higher education. See his articles and interview at Good Faith Media.

— Dunbar, Erica Armstrong. Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. 2017. The children’s book edition by Dunbar and Kathy DeMarco Van Cleave was awarded the 2020 Children’s Book Prize by the New York Historical Society. Its popularity among young readers has generated #TeamOna.

— Giddings, Paula. Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching. Amistad, Reprint, 2009.

— Gyssi, Yaa. Homegoing: A Novel. Knopf, 2016. Brilliant novel of connected chapters/generations and persistence despite the frustrations of missing information. Includes settings in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama, where the author attended high school. Highly recommended. The short episodic chapters mirror connections and lacuna in family history and genealogy.

— Hadden, Sally E. Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas. Harvard University Press, 2003. Part of the history and mentality of human “hunters” and “catchers” with laws designed to protect them more than the human beings being hunted and kidnapped.

— Loewen, James W. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. The New Press, 2005.

— McGuire, Danielle. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to Black Power. Vintage Books, 2010. One of the most important books for everyone to read. It will transform the way many white people understand Rosa Parks. The author’s archive of sources about individual women and their families is available here.

— Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Liveright Publishing, 2018.

— Sorin, Gretchen. Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil RightsSorin’s book, a pleasure to read, is full of fascinating, heartbreaking, inspiring history as well as hopeful programs for all. She weaves personal and family histories with broader business and cultural history, connecting the antebellum era to the twentieth century to the present. View the documentary here.

— Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Spiegel & Grau, 2014.  See film also.

— Wells, Ida B. Southern Horrors and Other Writings; The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, ed. and Introduction by Jacqueline Jones Royster. Bedford, 1996. Royster’s Introduction about Wells’ life and summary of the socially-constructed ladder of race and sex in the South is an important essay for understanding historical context and events. Wells’ remarkable work and writing remain a core text everyone should read.

— Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Vintage, 2010. Wilkerson’s Pulitzer-winning book should be on everyone’s have-read list.

— “Boycott” (2001 HBO film).

— Freedom Riders and Non-Violent Activism: Smithsonian Magazine. Gallup polls showed that the majority of white people, including white Christians opposed what the Freedom Riders were doing as “too radical,” “too extreme” etc.

— “When They See Us” (Netflix) by Ava Duvernay. At this writing in 2020, Donald Trump still has not apologized for the full-page ad he took out in the New York Times calling for the execution of five young men and boys who were later completely exonerated.

— Throughline podcast: “Policing In America” by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah. June 5, 2020. Delves into the history of slave patrols by white men. 7 minutes.

— The Equal Justice Initiative, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”

— “Navigating the Green Book.” Interactive Maps.