100 books like Driving While Black

By Gretchen Sorin,

Here are 100 books that Driving While Black fans have personally recommended if you like Driving While Black. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster―Who Profits and Who Pays the Price

Daniel Knowles Author Of Carmageddon: How Cars Make Life Worse and What to Do about It

From my list on urbanists who hate cars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in city planning for as long as I can remember. That is perhaps because I grew up in Birmingham, England, a city that probably suffered from its worst excesses more than most. In my job as a reporter for The Economist, I have had the privilege to see cities all over the world upfront, and probe how they work. Some of these are books I keep coming back to; others ones that I furiously agreed with. I hope you enjoy them all.

Daniel's book list on urbanists who hate cars

Daniel Knowles Why did Daniel love this book?

Jessie’s book, There Are No Accidents, is dedicated to a friend of hers who was killed cycling in New York City, by a drunk driver.

Her book however explains how such “accidents” are not only the fault of the people who directly cause them, but also of social systems that make it possible for bad decisions to cause catastrophes, and who it is who profits from them.

As a cyclist, I think about that all of the time whenever I get into an argument with a driver who – accidentally – almost kills me.

By Jessie Singer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked There Are No Accidents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A journalist recounts the surprising history of accidents and reveals how they've come to define all that's wrong with America.

We hear it all the time: "Sorry, it was just an accident." And we've been deeply conditioned to just accept that explanation and move on. But as Jessie Singer argues convincingly: There are no such things as accidents. The vast majority of mishaps are not random but predictable and preventable. Singer uncovers just how the term "accident" itself protects those in power and leaves the most vulnerable in harm's way, preventing investigations, pushing off debts, blaming the victims, diluting anger,…


Book cover of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

I did not expect to thoroughly enjoy a book with ninety pages of footnotes on a subject that people love to complain about day in and day out. But Vanderbilt, who has a great sense of humor and unrelenting interest in human behavior, took me along easily on his quest to satisfy his many questions about drivers, driving, roads, and traffic safety. The answers to those we’ve often asked ourselves on the road (usually while cursing), are often surprising. 

By Tom Vanderbilt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Traffic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book

One of the Best Books of the Year
The Washington Post • The Cleveland Plain-Dealer • Rocky Mountain News

In this brilliant, lively, and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers…


Book cover of The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

This unusual and provocative collection of essays and reflections by a Belgian philosopher contains ideas about car culture I refer to and reflect on often though I first read them over a decade ago. The author led me to understand how cars, though they can close great distances and bring families and friends together, have also contributed to an atomized society in which we move between isolated places in isolation from each other, a separation aided by fear and adding to it.

By Lieven de Cauter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Capsular Civilization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Particularly since September 11, the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq, it has been almost impossible to dissociate architecture from its social context. Add to this the massive influence of capitalism on architecture, disturbing demographic developments and associated political, social, and ecological catastrophes, and the result is a robotic snapshot of a society dominated by fear, exclusion and simulation. Lieven De Cauter, a leading theoretician on the subject of capsularisation, has worked over the past six years on the essays and articles contained in this book, and has documented and analyzed our changing societies before and after 9/11.…


Book cover of The High Cost of Free Parking

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

Having grown up in a home where paying for parking was considered a sin, I was intrigued by the title of this book that’s not just for urban planners. Shoup reveals the common, misguided planning decisions that helped create not just a kind of entitlement culture around parking but a dysfunctional transportation system that we all pay for in too many ways, including economic underdevelopment and higher retail prices.  

By Donald Shoup,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The High Cost of Free Parking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the American Planning Association's most popular and influential books is finally in paperback, with a new preface from the author on how thinking about parking has changed since this book was first published. In this no-holds-barred treatise, Donald Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems. Planners mandate free parking to alleviate congestion but end up distorting transportation choices, debasing urban design, damaging the economy, and degrading the environment. Ubiquitous free parking helps explain why our cities sprawl on a scale fit more for…


Book cover of Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

I met the author Andrea Davis Pinkney and her husband at a conference. I’ve always admired the Pinkney family and their award-winning books for children, so when Andrea shared about her book, I wanted an autographed copy for my own home library. A book for older readers, it contains the biographies of 10 amazing women who took a stand and made a difference in our world. The art is beautiful, too!

By Andrea Davis Pinkney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let It Shine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America.Harriet Tubman helped more than three hundred slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad.Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S.House of Representatives.
The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in--even when it feels like no one is listening.Andrea Davis Pinkney's moving text and Stephen Alcorn's glorious portraits celebrate…


Book cover of In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

Anna Malaika Tubbs Author Of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

From my list on Black motherhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anna Malaika Tubbs is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of MLK Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. She is also a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in Anthropology, Anna received a Master’s from the University of Cambridge in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Outside of the academy, she is an educator and DEI consultant. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, and their son Michael Malakai.

Anna's book list on Black motherhood

Anna Malaika Tubbs Why did Anna love this book?

This anthology of some of Walker’s most powerful works with a focus on discovering ourselves through studying those who came before us is both incredibly informative and emotional. It explores motherhood not only through the biological role but also in a sense of community mothering and foremothers. There is much to learn about our present by examining lessons laid out for us by generations past.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker's collection of essays ranging in topics from personal to political. "Thoughtful, intelligent, resonant musings." — Kirkus Reviews

In this, her first collection of nonfiction, Alice Walker speaks out as a black woman, writer, mother, and feminist. Among the thirty-six pieces are essays about other writers, accounts of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s, and a vivid memoir of a scarring childhood injury and her daughter’s healing words.


Book cover of A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi's Black Freedom Struggle

Katherine Mellen Charron Author Of Freedom's Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark

From my list on women in the civil rights movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having studied the civil rights movement for over twenty years, I can attest that it is infinitely more complex, more nuanced, and more inspiring than how it has come to be remembered and celebrated. Students in my civil rights seminar always ask “Why did we never learn this in high school?!” They do so because they discover what becomes possible when ordinary people united around the goals of freedom and justice undertake extraordinary challenges. For those concerned about our contemporary historical moment, both the movement’s successes and shortcomings help explain how we got here. Yet they also suggest how we might best adapt the lessons from that era to our own as the struggle continues.

Katherine's book list on women in the civil rights movement

Katherine Mellen Charron Why did Katherine love this book?

Sanders offers a most compelling portrait of how working-class Black women harnessed civil rights activism to education and the War on Poverty. In 1965, the Child Development Group of Mississippi became one of the earliest Head Start programs in the nation. Sanders focuses on how activists deployed it to enhance educational opportunities for Black children and to secure economic independence from white employers for Black women. She also tracks how the state’s white supremacist political leaders and those in Washington D.C. undermined this successful program. In so doing, Sanders demonstrates the precariousness of civil rights victories, especially when activists sought economic justice that required fundamentally remaking the structure of U.S. society.  

By Crystal R. Sanders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Chance for Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this innovative study, Crystal Sanders explores how working-class black women, in collaboration with the federal government, created the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) in 1965, a Head Start program that not only gave poor black children access to early childhood education but also provided black women with greater opportunities for political activism during a crucial time in the unfolding of the civil rights movement. Women who had previously worked as domestics and sharecroppers secured jobs through CDGM as teachers and support staff and earned higher wages. The availability of jobs independent of the local white power structure afforded…


Book cover of Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power

Paul Bass Author Of Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Yale, and the Redemption of a Killer

From my list on Black protest and government resistance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Paul Bass is the co-author with Douglas W. Rae of Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Yale, and the Redemption of A Killer. Paul has been a reporter and editor in New Haven, Conn., for over 40 years. He is the founder and editor of the online New Haven Independent.

Paul's book list on Black protest and government resistance

Paul Bass Why did Paul love this book?

Robert F. Williams may be the most influential, inspiring, and entertaining leader to be written out of popular American civil rights history. Tyson rescues him and his story, showing how one man can combine writing and organizing talent to outwit the Klan, the FBI, change his community, challenge movement orthodoxy, and then have unforgettable and unpredictable encounters with Castro, Mao  —  and Nixon, at the dawn of a new foreign policy era. This book, like Williams himself, forces us to wrestle with the nuances of arguments about social justice, racism, violence, and ideology. It’s also an unforgettable story in and of itself.

By Timothy B. Tyson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radio Free Dixie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic book tells the remarkable story of Robert F. Williams (1925-1996), one of the most influential black activists of the generation that toppled Jim Crow and forever altered the arc of American history. In the late 1950s, Williams, as president of the Monroe, North Carolina, branch of the NAACP, and his followers used machine guns, dynamite, and Molotov cocktails to confront Klan terrorists. Advocating ""armed self-reliance,"" Williams challenged not only white supremacists but also Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights establishment. Forced to flee during the 1960s to Cuba-where he broadcast ""Radio Free Dixie,"" a program of…


Book cover of A Voice That Could Stir an Army: Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement

Keisha N. Blain Author Of Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America

From my list on Black women in the Civil Rights Movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first learned about Fannie Lou Hamer more than a decade ago, and I have been deeply inspired by her life story and her words. I didn’t initially think I would write a book about her. But the uprisings of 2020 motivated me to do so. Like so many people, I struggled to make sense of everything that was unfolding, and I began to question whether change was possible. The more I read Hamer’s words, the more clarity I found. Her vision for the world and her commitment to improving conditions for all people gave me a renewed sense of hope and purpose.

Keisha's book list on Black women in the Civil Rights Movement

Keisha N. Blain Why did Keisha love this book?

Maegan Parker Brooks’ work on Fannie Lou Hamer was indispensable as I wrote my book. A Voice That Could Stir an Army focuses on Hamer’s use of rhetorical symbols and her public persona in a way that helps elevate Hamer’s legacy and demonstrates the importance of rhetoric to social movements. Brooks has helped bring Hamer’s words and ideas to a broader audience.

By Maegan Parker Brooks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Voice That Could Stir an Army as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sharecropper, a warrior, and a truth-telling prophet, Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) stands as a powerful symbol not only of the 1960s black freedom movement, but also of the enduring human struggle against oppression. A Voice That Could Stir an Army is a rhetorical biography that tells the story of Hamer's life by focusing on how she employed symbols - images, words, and even material objects such as the ballot, food, and clothing - to construct persuasive public personae, to influence audiences, and to effect social change. Drawing upon dozens of newly recovered Hamer texts and recent interviews with Hamer's…


Book cover of An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America

Paul Kendrick Author Of Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.'s Life and Win the 1960 Election

From my list on memoirs of the civil rights movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father and I have written three books of narrative history. We tell stories from the American past that have a theme of interracial collaboration. Not sentimentally, but so that in a clear-eyed way, we can learn from moments in our history that may offer us hopeful ways forward. Growing up, I was shaped by narrative history techniques such as Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger and Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years trilogy. For this list, I wanted to share five favorite civil rights movement memoirs.

Paul's book list on memoirs of the civil rights movement

Paul Kendrick Why did Paul love this book?

Few reflect on Dr. King more insightfully than Young, from strategy sessions to reflective late-night talks with Dr. King. His memories from campaigns like Birmingham are invaluable. There is both humor and great depth in the tale of Young’s life, from theological school and parish ministry to being at the center of the civil rights movement. 

By Andrew Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Easy Burden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Andrew Young is one of the most important figures of the U.S. civil rights movement and one of America's best-known African American leaders. Working closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he endured beatings and arrests while participating in seminal civil rights campaigns. In 1964, he became Executive Director of the SCLC, serving with King during a time of great accomplishment and turmoil. In describing his life through his election to Congress in 1972, this memoir provides revelatory, riveting reading. Young's analysis of the connection between racism, poverty, and a militarized economy will resonate with…


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