New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Book list:

These books are listed in no particular order. Check them out as you feel lead. We are adding more all the time;  to add others that you have found interesting send to the clerk including a brief description. And, of course, let us know if any no longer are relevant. For a list of "100 Must-Read African-American Books" go here.

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism Kindle Edition

by Robin J. DiAngelo  (Author), Michael Eric Dyson (Foreword)

Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

"All the Real Indians Died Off": And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans Kindle Edition

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz  (Author), Dina Gilio-Whitaker  (Author)

scholars and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker tackle a wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations. Tracing how these ideas evolved, and drawing from history, the authors disrupt long-held and enduring myths such as:

“Columbus Discovered America”
“Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed Pilgrims”
“Indians Were Savage and Warlike”
“Europeans Brought Civilization to Backward Indians”
“The United States Did Not Have a Policy of Genocide”
“Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans”
“Most Indians Are on Government Welfare”
“Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich”
“Indians Are Naturally Predisposed to Alcohol”

Each chapter deftly shows how these myths are rooted in the fears and prejudice of European settlers and in the larger political agendas of a settler state aimed at acquiring Indigenous land and tied to narratives of erasure and disappearance.

Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race Kindle Edition

by Debby Irving  (Author)

Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned

Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today

by Jacqueline Battalora

Birth of a White Nation is a fascinating new book on race in America that begins with an exploration of the moment in time when "white people,” as a separate and distinct group of humanity, were invented through legislation and the enactment of laws. 

The book provides a thorough examination of the underlying reasons as well as the ways in which “white people” were created. It also explains how the creation of this distinction divided laborers and ultimately served the interests of the elite. The book goes on to examine how foundational law and policy in the U.S. were used to institutionalize the practice of “white people” holding positions of power. Finally, the book demonstrates how the social construction and legal enactment of “white people” has ultimately compromised the humanity of those so labeled.

Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond

by Marc Lamont Hill

This is a book about what it means to be Nobody in twenty-first-century America.

To be Nobody is to be vulnerable. In the most basic sense, all of us are vulnerable; to be human is to be susceptible to misfortune, violence, illness, and death. The role of government, however, is to offer forms of protection that enhance our lives and shield our bodies from foreseeable and preventable dangers. Unfortunately, for many citizens—particularly those marked as poor, Black, Brown, immigrant, queer, or trans—State power has only increased their vulnerability, making their lives more rather than less unsafe.


My book, Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox, will be available in November 2017 from Routledge.
    • This book serves as an accessible, introductory, and interdisciplinary guide to race and racism, with tools for action aimed at students, educators, and the general public.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

by Michael Eric Dyson 
“One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." ―The New York Times Book Review

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

by Lauret Savoy

One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her—paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples indigenous to this land—lie largely eroded and lost.

Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies” in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration.

Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide

by Daniel Hunter

Expanding on the call to action in Michelle Alexander's acclaimed best-seller, The New Jim Crow, this accessible organizing guide puts tools in your hands to help you and your group understand how to make meaningful, effective change

Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism

Cindy Milstein (Editor)

"Taking Sides is more than a book; it's a politic aimed at the heart of every radical struggling against a racist state." —Luis A. Fernandez, author of Policing Dissent

Taking Sides is a critical response to divisive debates within current movements against police violence and white supremacy, especially since Michael Brown's murder. These sharp interventions ask activists to avoid easy—and safe—answers and take on the hard work of building real grassroots solidarity across racial lines.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

by Tim Wise (Author)

In White Like Me, Tim Wise offers a highly personal examination of the ways in which racial privilege shapes the lives of most white Americans, overtly racist or not, to the detriment of people of color, themselves, and society. The book shows the breadth and depth of the phenomenon within institutions such as education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare.

The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege

by Robert Jensen (Author)

For those who choose to take the trip, Professor Jensen has charted a course, in plain English, and with few pretensions, to fuller understanding of the depth of the scars that American racism has left on our humanity. It has infected our individual and collective psyches with a disease that is difficult to overcome: the disease of color prejudice, white privilege, white supremacy, white superiority, and white racism.

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice.

Kivel, Paul. 

Uprooting Racism talks bout racism without rhetoric or attack. Speaking as a white to fellow whites, Kivel shares stories, suggestions, advice, exercises and approaches for working together to fight racism. He does this while discussing the timely issues of affirmative action, immigration, institutional racism, anti-Semitism, humor, political correctness and the meaning of whiteness. And he covers the different forms of racial injustice faced by Latinos, such as Asian Americans, African Americans, Native-Americans, and Jews.

Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation

by Derald Wing Sue (Author)

Derald Wing Sue, a highly-regarded academic and author, helps readers understand and combat racism in themselves. It defines racism not only as extreme acts of hatred, but as "any attitude, action or institutional structure or social policy that subordinates a person or group because of their color." This landmark work offers an antidote to this pervasive social problem.

The Skin We're In: Teaching Our Teens To Be Emotionally Strong, Socially Smart, and Spiritually Connected. Ward, Janie Victoria.  New York, NY: The Free Press, 2002

"How can we best help our youth to be strong, self-confidant and resilient? How can we fortify them to resist racism...?" In order to find practicable answers to these pressing questions, Ward, an education professor at Simmons College in Boston, interviewed dozens of African-American parents and children about their views on such topics as school, friends, racism, opportunity and money.

 It's the Little Things: Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races.

Williams, Lena.New York, NY: Harvest Books, Harcourt Inc., 2002.

Never mind the subject of affirmative action, there are a myriad of everyday misunderstandings that occur between black and white Americans that roil race relations. Williams, a reporter for the New York Times, speaks from experience about a range of annoying to dangerous incidences that are caused by the lack of understanding between the races.

killing rage: Ending Racism

by bell hooks (Author)

hroughout the 23 essays, Hooks seeks a way out of the cycle of racism. A provocative voice seeking wisdom in the din, she boldly asserts "this nation can be transformed... we can resist racism and in the act of resistance recover ourselves and be renewed."

Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America

by Joseph Barndt (Author)

Racism has reemerged, dramatically and forcefully. All of us -- people of color and white people alike -- are damaged by its debilitating effects. In this book, the author addresses the “majority,” the white race in the United States. Racism permeates the individual attitudes and behavior of white people, but even more seriously, it permeates public systems, institutions, and culture. (Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-first Century Challenge to White America)

There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America (Paperback)

by Vincent Harding

From an unflinchingly black perspective, Harding writes of the struggle of heroic African americans to achieve freedom from slavery. Index; photographs.

The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks

by Randall Robinson (Author)

Juxtaposing domestic racism with the sufferings of people abroad, he contends that America's dubious foreign policy initiatives in Cuba and throughout the black world should be mitigated through debt relief. Methodically tackling one issue at a time, Robinson suggests the creation of a trust to assist in the educational and economic empowerment of African-Americans. Whether readers agree or disagree with his views, Robinson has made a definitive step in presenting these controversial and still unresolved issues.

Race Matters

by Cornel West (Author)

West's book proved to be a bold attack on racism and racist institutions, and did provide some interesting directions for change.

The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty

by Vine, Jr. Deloria (Author), Clifford M. Lytle (Author)

It is a blow-by-blow historical account, perhaps unique in the literature, which may be the only way to show the full complexity of American Indian relations with federal and state governments. This makes it possible in two brilliant concluding chapters to clarify current Indian points of view and to build onto initiatives that Indians have already taken to suggest which of these might be most useful for them to pursue. The unheeded message has been clear throughout history, but now we see how—if we let Indians do it their own way—they might, more quickly than we have imagined, rebuild their communities."

Black Wealth / White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality

by Melvin Oliver (Editor)

...challenges the assertions that the failure of black entrepreneurship is rooted in a poor work ethic and an inability to defer gratification. Oliver and Shapiro are not asking for 'special privileges' for black people. They are calling for a level playing field."

The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide

by Meizhu Lui (Author), Barbara Robles (Author), Betsy Leondar-Wright (Author)

For every dollar owned by the average white family in the United States, the average family of color has less than a dime. Why do people of color have so little wealth? The Color of Wealth lays bare a dirty secret: for centuries, people of color have been barred by laws and by discrimination from participating in government wealth-building programs that benefit white Americans.


The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change—and When to Let Go

by Quaker Eileen Flanagan. Listening to our inner voice about change or no change.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

by Michelle Alexander. Sometimes startling data about our society’s way of dealing with young African American men.  “Must read” for Friends concerned about this growing problem and those not certain that racial discrimination persists.


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

by Isabel Wilkerson. What many people don’t know about the decades-long migration of African Americans fleeing the South in search of a better life. How their journeys have altered our cities, our country, and ourselves.


Colorblind: The Rise of Post-racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equality

by Tim Wise. If you haven’t read Tim Wise yet, this is a great start. You will learn why he says “Retreat from Racial Equality.”


Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans and the Myth of Racial Justice

by Friends Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye. Don’t forget this Quaker best-seller. Join the more than two thousand Friends and others who have read or maybe are just now reading this book.


Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America.

By Helen Thorpe, a Quaker and wife of the Colorado governor. The struggle with identity for children of Mexican parents.


White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism

by Paula S. Rothenberg

In White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Race, Rothenberg has compiled and reduced some very important and complex discussions on whiteness from a variety of social contexts. In White Privilege, whiteness is traced from it's multiple origins and entry points giving a basic understanding on how whiteness developed as a social construct, what whiteness has meant to numerous people, how various Others have become white, and how whiteness is navigated and construed by people of color.


Enter the River: Healing Steps from White Privilege Toward Racial Reconciliation

by Tobin Miller Shearer (Author), Jody Miller Shearer (Author)

Jody writes out of his experience especially to other White Christians in America, giving Biblical, historical, personal, and and social reasons to examine racism and work for reconciliation.


The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America

by Linda Faye Williams (Author)

"There can be little genuine progress in solving the so-called race problem or in creating the kind of social citizenship all Americans deserve unless and until continuing white skin privilege is openly acknowledged and addressed. In effect, the problem of the twenty-first century is not the color line but finding a way to successfully challenge whiteness as ideology and reality."


Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology

by Margaret L. Andersen (Author), Patricia Hill Collins (Author)

The book also provides conceptual grounding in understanding race, class, and gender; has a strong historical and sociological perspective; and is further strengthened by conceptual introductions by the authors. (contains Prggy McIntosh “White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”)


Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege (American Philosophy)

by Shannon Sullivan (Author)

Revealing Whiteness explores how white privilege operates as an unseen, invisible, and unquestioned norm in society today. In this personal and selfsearching book, Shannon Sullivan interrogates her own whiteness and how being white has affected her. By looking closely at the subtleties of white domination, she issues a call for other white people to own up to their unspoken privilege and confront environments that condone or perpetuate.


Breaking the Code of Good Intentions: Everyday Forms of Whiteness

by Bush Melanie E. L. (Author)

This book goes deep into the inner workings of white racial identity. Bush spent five years collecting and documenting perspectives of white students on inequality and found their perceptions of and rationalizations about equality have little basis in reality.


Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons.

Lazarre, Jane. Durham and London: Duke University Press,

A heartfelt exploration of ethnicity and its implications in America. Novelist Lazarre (Worlds Beyond My Control, 1991, etc.) turns to autobiography in this account of interracial marriage and motherhood. ``I have spent most of my adult life,'' she writes, ``living in a Black family, raising Black sons, forming my most intimate relationships with African Americans, learning their culture,'' and yet, as her sons have grown to adulthood, she finds herself feeling always the outsider, however well accepted.


White Men Challenging Racism: 35 Personal Stories. Thompson, Cooper, et al. Durham and London:

Thompson and the other authors spent six years interviewing 35 white men with a range of ages and backgrounds and from across the U.S. for these first-person narratives on racism as a central theme in their lives. The subjects are men--some well known, others obscure--who have spent their lives combating racism and social injustice via community organizing, teaching


Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

by Beverly Daniel Tatum

students are in the process of establishing and affirming their racial identity. As Tatum sees it, blacks must secure a racial identity free of negative stereotypes. The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society.


The Hidden Wound

by Wendell Berry

exploration of the way in which racism is a disaster for white people. He writes beautifully and movingly about the self interest of white people to end racism and the deep life changes necessary to do it.


Race: The History Of An Idea In America (classic)

by Thomas F. Gossett


Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (classic)

by Martin Luther King Jr. (Author)


Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Crossing Press Feminist Series)

by Audre Lorde (Author)

She is a fiercely intelligent writer, addressing racism, sexism, and heterosexism from the heart of her individual experience as an African-American, lesbian poet/warrior. Audre Lorde demonstrates how each of us must speak for and from our most intimate knowledge, yet simultaneously extend the boundaries around ourselves to include the "outsider," to include more than we have been, more than we thought we could imagine.


I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World

by Marguerite Wright (Author)

"In her book, Marguarite Wright uses a wealth of examples from her work with children and families and offers a creative array of suggestions and strategies for raising health black and biracial children.


Learning to Be White: Money, Race, and God in America

by Thandeka

The author puts forth a novel and plausible thesis regarding the impact of a racist society on the majority race. (Although currently seems to have had a change of prespective)


And Don't Call Me a Racist

by Ella Mazel (Author)


New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]