100 books like The Strange Career of Jim Crow

By C. Vann Woodward,

Here are 100 books that The Strange Career of Jim Crow fans have personally recommended if you like The Strange Career of Jim Crow. 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 The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Robert L. Tsai Author Of Demand the Impossible: One Lawyer's Pursuit of Equal Justice for All

From my list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor at Boston University who has studied and written about constitutional law, democracy, and inequality for over 20 years. I’m troubled by America’s rise to become the world’s leader in imprisoning its own citizens and the continued use of inhumane policing and punishment practices. These trends must be better understood before we can come up with a form of politics that can overcome our slide into a darker version of ourselves. 

Robert's book list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system

Robert L. Tsai Why did Robert love this book?

I found Michelle Alexander’s book a potent reminder that the past is never really past, and that older practices of racial subjugation and use of the criminal law against minorities can be repurposed in later eras to serve the same or related ends.

The book raises the question of whether Jim Crow has really ended in all institutions in American society.

By Michelle Alexander,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The New Jim Crow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it 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, including the NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that 'we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.'


Book cover of The College Dropout Scandal

Peter Temin Author Of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

From my list on racial and economic inequality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Temin is an economist and economic historian, currently a professor at MIT and the former head of the Economics Department. His research interests include macroeconomic history, the Great Depression, industry studies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ancient Rome. 

Peter's book list on racial and economic inequality in the USA

Peter Temin Why did Peter love this book?

This is a positive book that shows how education can help Blacks and other minorities get an education that will help them stay out of mass incarceration. It is good to have a positive program as we attempt to deal with American racism.

By David Kirp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Higher education today faces numerous challenges, from quality to cost. But the fact that fewer than sixty percent of college freshmen graduate in six years and fewer than forty percent earn an associate degree in three years turns few heads. The dropout problem is especially acute for black and Latino students, those from poor families, and those who are first in their families to go to college. In short, millions of students are leaving college without a degree,
saddled with debt, and little to show for it.

In The College Dropout Scandal, David Kirp outlines the scale of the problem…


Book cover of A Theory of Economic History

Peter Temin Author Of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

From my list on racial and economic inequality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Temin is an economist and economic historian, currently a professor at MIT and the former head of the Economics Department. His research interests include macroeconomic history, the Great Depression, industry studies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ancient Rome. 

Peter's book list on racial and economic inequality in the USA

Peter Temin Why did Peter love this book?

I love this book for two reasons. It condenses a massive amount of economic history into a small book, and it shows how our unequal societies are backtracking to older models of the economy.

By Sir John R. Hicks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Theory of Economic History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Theory of Economic History


Book cover of Feudal Society

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

Marc Bloch was one of the greatest historians of the 20th century. He was also hero of the French Resistance, tortured and executed by the notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie. Feudal Society (2 volumes) is perhaps his best book. 

It is often said that the past is a foreign country, and it is true that the world of the Middle Ages is alien to us in many respects. What Bloch does is to provide a systematic examination of all aspects of that world, that is he examines it it from a legal, a sociological, an anthropological, an economic, and a political perspective. 

In so doing, he paints a remarkable portrait of a coherent, self-contained society. The economy was basic, laws and politics were personalized, but it was a social and political order that made sense in its own terms. More recent historians have criticized specific aspects of Bloch's vision of feudalism…

By Marc Bloch,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Feudal Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marc Bloch said that his goal in writing Feudal Society was to go beyond the technical study a medievalist would typically write and 'dismantle a social structure.' In this outstanding and monumental work, which has introduced generations of students and historians to the feudal period, Bloch treats feudalism as living, breathing force in Western Europe from the ninth to the thirteenth century. At its heart lies a magisterial account of relations of lord and vassal, and the origins of the nature of the fief, brought to life through compelling accounts of the nobility, knighthood and chivalry, family relations, political and…


Book cover of Between the World and Me

David Hanna Author Of History Nation: A Citizen's Guide to the History of the United States

From my list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both an author and a teacher, I’ve been using Howard Zinn’s iconic book for over 20 years. I have found it to be an effective counterweight to more orthodox texts, as well as a credible platform for stimulating discussion. In writing my own “guide” to U.S. history, I always kept Zinn in mind. While we may not always agree, the dissonance is something I’m certain Howard Zinn would appreciate. He was unafraid to "engage" with his subject matter and his readers. This is an inspiration.

David's book list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

Coates’s semi-autobiographical examination of life for black men in American society, and more broadly in American history, is an education. Like Zinn, Coates calls America on the hypocrisy inherent in its highest ideals and its most cherished conceits.

As Coates himself later said about Zinn, "He knocked me on my ass." The two - while not always on the same page in their critical examinations of the American experiment, are clearly kindred spirits. They both want America to do better and clearly believe it can do better if it is honest about itself - but will it be? This is the question left ominously dangling by both Zinn and Coates.

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT
 
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)
 
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN •…


Book cover of Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

An invaluable scholarly source for understanding the Atlantic slave system at its source.  Among the book’s virtues are details of the cultures and politics in the area of European penetration and African slavery itself and the African participation in the European trade. This book should be recognized with the extensive literature on the Atlantic slave trade for its acknowledgment of the great range of African languages and cultures that ended up in Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America.

By John Thornton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book explores Africa's involvement in the Atlantic world from the fifteenth century to the eighteenth century. It focuses especially on the causes and consequences of the slave trade, in Africa, in Europe, and in the New World. African institutions, political events, and economic structures shaped Africa's voluntary involvement in the Atlantic arena before 1680. Africa's economic and military strength gave African elites the capacity to determine how trade with Europe developed. Thornton examines the dynamics of colonization which made slaves so necessary to European colonizers, and he explains why African slaves were placed in roles of central significance. Estate…


Book cover of Slave and Citizen: The Classic Comparative Study of Race Relations in the Americas

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

This is a comparative short study of slave societies in the Americas with an emphasis on how the Brazilian system was more legally and morally fluid than the more rigid North American system. The importance of this book lies in its originality and influence as a model for generations of historians.  Tannenbaum’s legalistic themes have been superseded by enriched data sources and social science theories and models. An additional characteristic of this comparative model was the introduction of the work of controversial Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre, his thesis of miscegenation and its role in defining Brazilian national character. Tannenbaum’s optimistic closing prediction about racial harmony has not yet occurred.

By Frank Tannenbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1947, Slave and Citizen is a classic in the field of comparative slave history and race relations.


Book cover of Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

This is best viewed as a template for the vast historiography of the slave trade that includes studies of the slave ship, the crews, the horrors of the “middle passage” and the organized acquisition in Africa and disposal in the Americas of African bodies. The Atlas is a graphic summary of the comprehensive base compiled by Eltis and his colleagues.

By David Eltis, David Richardson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A extraordinary work, decades in the making: the first atlas to illustrate the entire scope of the transatlantic slave trade

Winner of the Association of American Publishers' 2010 R.R. Hawkins Award and PROSE Award

"A monumental chronicle of this historical tragedy."-Dwight Garner, New York Times

Between 1501 and 1867, the transatlantic slave trade claimed an estimated 12.5 million Africans and involved almost every country with an Atlantic coastline. In this extraordinary book, two leading historians have created the first comprehensive, up-to-date atlas on this 350-year history of kidnapping and coercion. It features nearly 200 maps, especially created for the volume,…


Book cover of Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality

Claudia Smith Brinson Author Of Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina

From my list on revealing what is hidden, lost, forgotten.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in sixteen places by the time I was twenty-two. A peripatetic youth may teach you that different is interesting, that stereotypes don’t hold, that the emperor has no clothes. When I moved South and worked as a journalist, I found black elders’ stories so different from the official stories of white authorities. Horrified that these men and women would die with their heroism untold, I interviewed more than 150 black activists for Stories of Struggle. I want to know what is missing; I want it found. Like a detective, an anthropologist, a scientist, and yes, a journalist, I want to know, and I want others to know.

Claudia's book list on revealing what is hidden, lost, forgotten

Claudia Smith Brinson Why did Claudia love this book?

Monumental, extraordinary, a landmark: only superlatives would do in 1975 to praise Simple Justice by Richard Kluger.

If you want to understand education in America, race in America, the absence of equity in America, Simple Justice gets you there. The book begins with the South Carolina heroes of Briggs v. Elliott, impoverished rural petitioners who filed the first of five lawsuits composing Brown v. Board of Education. The book ends with the 1954 and 1955 US Supreme Court’s decisions declaring unconstitutional the legal segregation of public schools.

Kluger focuses on people, beginning with tenant farmers and sharecroppers who defied the white men controlling their every breath and petitioned for “equal everything.” Kluger’s vivid storytelling was among my inspirations, forty years after Brown, to seek South Carolina’s forgotten heroes. 

By Richard Kluger,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Simple Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Simple Justice is generally regarded as the classic account of the U.S. Supreme Court's epochal decision outlawing racial segregation and the centerpiece of African-Americans' ongoing crusade for equal justice under law.

The 1954 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education brought centuries of legal segregation in this country to an end. It was and remains, beyond question, one of the truly significant events in American history, "probably the most important American government act of any kind since the Emancipation Proclamation," in the view of constitutional scholar Louis H. Pollak. The Brown decision climaxed along, torturous…


Book cover of An Economic Detour: A History of Insurance in the Lives of American Negroes

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Author Of Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

From my list on African American business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion and expertise related to African American business history began years ago when I searched for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. After mulling over a variety of options, I ultimately decided to examine the history of an African American insurance company in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. While working on this project, I began to formulate ideas for future research in the realm of African American business history. I subsequently developed into one of the acknowledged experts in this field. Based upon my track record, I served as a historical consultant and appeared in the documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business which premiered on PBS in April 2019.

Robert's book list on African American business history

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Why did Robert love this book?

This classic work, originally published in 1940, provides a panoramic examination of African American insurance companies (including a detailed overview of individual firms).

Although An Economic Detour focuses on black insurers, its’ broader analysis encompassed all black-owned enterprises during this period. Specifically, Stuart declared that, under the dictates of Jim Crow racial segregation, African American entrepreneurs were relegated to only serving African American consumers.

This, necessarily, had an inhibiting impact on their profitability. Especially since non-African American entrepreneurs also had access to the African American consumer market.

As someone who has written extensively on black-owned insurance companies, An Economic Detour has been a long-standing “go-to” resource for me.

By M.S. Stuart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

as described


5 book lists we think you will like!

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