The best books on racism in the USA

The Books I Picked & Why

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Why this book?

This book about the great migration explodes the myth that African-Americans were greeted with open arms. It expanded my knowledge and understanding of institutional racism and deepened my empathy for the plight of people of color. Wilkerson used the stories of real people and their struggle to overcome discrimination to weave the complex tale that is the fabric of America. Well-written and a delightful read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

By Isabel Wilkerson

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Why this book?

This book helped me understand the underlying problem of racism by comparing this country's barriers to the caste system in India. Although there were vast differences, there are many similarities between the two countries. Chief among them, the establishment's desire to keep those considered "less than" "in their place." Wilkerson provided a gut-check level of clarity to the definition of “white privilege.” An important and deeply moving read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South

By Ben Montgomery

A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South

Why this book?

A riveting true story about a freed slave and a confederate soldier who fought for justice in the Jim Crow South. The freed slave became the first man to beat a lynch mob in court. His small blow to racism made him a hero but one few know. I cried at his setbacks and cheered for every small victory along the way. Once I started reading, I could not put it down.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

By John Meacham

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Why this book?

An intimate and historically accurate portrait of an extraordinary civil rights icon. Meachem carefully recreates the struggles for equality in the life of John Lewis. The passing of Lewis to the close proximity of our loss of Elijah Cummings left a deep hole in my heart that was soothed by this masterful portrayal of a real American hero. An uplifting book that shines a bright light of hope for future improvement.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

By Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Why this book?

Although fiction, this book skillfully portrays both the depression-era WPA Pack Librarians and the plight of the Blue Fugates of Kentucky. Not black but not white, these blue people found prejudice and discrimination everywhere.  And medical science was only beginning to understand the origins of their genetic abnormality. A fascinating look at a forgotten people and their struggles to belong in a cruel and judgmental society.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists