10 books like Slavery by Another Name

By Douglas A. Blackmon,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Slavery by Another Name. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Color of Law

By Richard Rothstein,

Book cover of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

When I was trying to figure out how the city of Charlotte became segregated, this book was a godsend. Rothstein explodes the myth that segregation in America grew primarily from individual choices, such as White people fleeing a neighborhood when a Black family moved in. He shows how local, state, and federal governments passed laws and made policies that created the housing and school segregation that much of the nation lives with today.  

The Color of Law

By Richard Rothstein,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Color of Law as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely heralded as a "masterful" (The Washington Post) and "essential" (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law offers "the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation" (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced…


Stamped from the Beginning

By Ibram X. Kendi,

Book cover of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Kendi’s book is the most recent in a long line of fantastic scholars who have tackled discussions of racism in America, especially anti-Black racism. Kendi focuses specifically on racist ideas, and how those ideas were created and then used to rationalize policies and inequalities for generations. The book is a New York Times Bestseller for a reason: it is accessible, has important ideas that are well-supported, and the reader doesn’t get lost in a history that covers a wide span of time.

Stamped from the Beginning

By Ibram X. Kendi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stamped from the Beginning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stamped from the Beginning is a redefining history of anti-Black racist ideas that dramatically changes our understanding of the causes and extent of racist thinking itself.

** Winner of the US National Book Award**

Its deeply researched and fast-moving narrative chronicles the journey of racist ideas from fifteenth-century Europe to present-day America through the lives of five major intellectuals - Puritan minister Cotton Mather, President Thomas Jefferson, fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis - showing how these ideas were developed, disseminated and eventually enshrined in American society.

Contrary to popular…


Thurgood Marshall

By Juan Williams,

Book cover of Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary

Before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, there was Thurgood Marshall. As a young lawyer and head of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, Marshall spearheaded the civil rights organization’s slow but steady legal course in challenging and defeating segregation in the courts. Risking his life to represent black plaintiffs in the South and slowly building the legal precedents that led to Brown vs. Board of Education, Marshall had a profound effect on the course of history. This excellent biography takes you there.

Thurgood Marshall

By Juan Williams,

Why should I read it?

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


Parting the Waters

By Taylor Branch,

Book cover of Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63

Though I was only nine years old, I still remember when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Years later, I found inspiration for my own activism in the great Eyes on the Prize documentary. So, as I became more involved with ACT UP, it was only natural that I looked to the stories of the civil rights movement to help ground and navigate my activism. Parting the Waters blew my mind. It went beyond the well-known stories of Dr. King to give me a fuller understanding of the breadth of the civil rights movement—the failures and compromises, as well as the famous successes. And while I found new heroes like Bayard Rustin, I gained an even greater appreciation for the bravery of the movement’s many foot soldiers. 

Parting the Waters

By Taylor Branch,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Parting the Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Book cover of Between the World and Me

Coates’ memoir, written in the form of a letter to his 14-year-old son, was his response to the 2000 death of his former Howard University classmate, killed by an undercover police officer in a case of mistaken identity. Coates grounds this story in deep research that explores the presumption of Black criminality woven through our history – in laws against aiding fugitive slaves, in slave codes that made it a crime to learn to read, in white terrorism that disenfranchised black people. I’ve admired Coates since I discovered his 2014 Atlantic article, “The Case for Reparations.” His message is devastating. His writing is beautiful. 

Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Between the World and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

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

Wilkerson embeds us with some of the millions of Black men and women who fled the Jim Crow South between 1915 and 1970, describing communities abandoned and hopes realized or disappointed. Robert Foster left his Louisiana town for Southern California, where he navigated new forms of racism to establish himself as a surgeon and prominent social figure. Ida Mae Gladney took her family from Mississippi to Chicago, where lodging, segregation, and “mind-numbing labor” scarcely improved on that of the South. But it was in Chicago that Ida Mae was first able to vote. Through the lives of people like these, Wilkerson paints a sweeping history of twentieth-century America that tells us as much about a country and an era as Tolstoy did in War and Peace.

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Warmth of Other Suns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Color of Money

By Mehrsa Baradaran,

Book cover of The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

This is one of my all-time favorite books! It was given to me by my nephew Kareem, in 2018. I have read it cover to cover, twice. My handwritten notes are on over 50% of the pages. 

The research that Baradarian put into this book is unparalleled. The book is chockful of facts and data that I never knew about Black history. For example, her research uncovered the fact that the forty acres of land that were to go to the 4 million formerly enslaved Black people after the Civil War was to be sold, not given to Blacks at $1.25 per acre. 

This book is filled with an abundance of typically unknown data, as she admirably tells the history of Blacks in America, through the Black banking industry’s chronicles. 

In the spirit of full transparency, my love for this book preceded the 2019 interview that I did of Baradarian…

The Color of Money

By Mehrsa Baradaran,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Color of Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Read this book. It explains so much about the moment...Beautiful, heartbreaking work."
-Ta-Nehisi Coates

"A deep accounting of how America got to a point where a median white family has 13 times more wealth than the median black family."
-The Atlantic

"Extraordinary...Baradaran focuses on a part of the American story that's often ignored: the way African Americans were locked out of the financial engines that create wealth in America."
-Ezra Klein

When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than 1 percent of the total wealth in America. More than 150 years later, that number…


Wilmington's Lie

By David Zucchino,

Book cover of Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

Wilmington’s Lie, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, documents one of the darkest episodes in North Carolina’s history – the violent overthrow of an elected government in the Black-majority city of Wilmington. It was a massacre that left at least 60 Black men dead. I lived in North Carolina for decades before I heard about this history. And I’m hardly alone. Until recently, this coup had been described as a “race riot” and largely omitted from textbooks, while its White supremacist organizers had been revered as great North Carolinians. If you want to understand what people mean when they talk about the “whitewashing” of American history, this book is the ultimate case study.

Wilmington's Lie

By David Zucchino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wilmington's Lie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Juneteenth Story

By Alliah L. Agostini,

Book cover of The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States

After interviewing me for my new book in May 2021, the editor of a suburban newspaper in Chicago asked me to write an Op Ed piece about the new federal holiday, Juneteenth. It is the day of recognition and celebration of the ending of slavery in the last confederate state of Texas in 1865. My Op Ed piece titled, “My Bittersweet Feelings About Juneteenth,” was written to inform and educate adult readers about June 19, 1865. That was the day Union Troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and began informing Black enslaved people that they were officially emancipated. 

The Juneteenth Story is a well-researched and beautifully written historical depiction of the same event. But the targeted audience of readers are children. It is the size of a large typical children’s coloring book filled with pretty colors and appealing graphic art. My 40-year-old daughter, Akilah, gave it to me as a Father’s…

The Juneteenth Story

By Alliah L. Agostini,

Why should I read it?

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


Dreams of Africa in Alabama

By Sylviane A. Diouf,

Book cover of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America

After reading Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, I wanted to learn more. This book, about the last Black person captured in Africa and enslaved in America, was astounding, but short. 

My thirst for more about the protagonist, Kossolo Lewis, led me to Dreams of Africa in Alabama. This book gives excellent riveting details about slavery, the crime against humanity. It also fascinatingly tells the detailed story, supported by research of facts and data about a crime against Federal U.S. laws, how Mr. Lewis was taken from Africa in the 1850’s, more than 4 decades after the U.S. prohibited the importation of people to be enslaved in 1808. 

By reading this book, I was exposed to real life stories about a White family, who broke laws, so they could enrich themselves off of the suffering of other humans. But even more importantly, the book chronicles Mr. Lewis’ life after slavery.…

Dreams of Africa in Alabama

By Sylviane A. Diouf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dreams of Africa in Alabama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers
right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet.

This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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