Evanston/North Shore

Racial Justice Resources

This resource page is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a place to start. We welcome your recommendations as well. We try to rotate the titles every few months.

Reviews provided by publishers or amazon.com, unless otherwise noted.



Racial Justice Lending Library: Stop by YWCA and borrow a book from the Racial Justice bookshelf in the southeast corner of the lobby. Return it when you're finished, and cross your name off the list, so we know the book is back. Feel free to leave a comment card about the book, so others can get your feedback as they are choosing a book.

For those who want to read the full history of our country – with all groups represented, we highly recommend the following titles: 

A People's History of the United States
by Howard Zinn

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States was the one of the first volumes to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.


A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Revised Edition-2008
Ronald Takaki (Revised Edition, 2008)

Upon its first publication, A Different Mirror was hailed by critics and academics everywhere as a dramatic new retelling of our nation's past. Beginning with the colonization of the New World, it recounted the history of America in the voice of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States--Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others--groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture.

 The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander (2012)

As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. (Review from amazon.com)

The Warmth of Other Suns
Isabel Wilkerson

After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, Louwen has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past. In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War.

 Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotpyes Affect us and What We Can Do
Claude M. Steele (2011)

This book has been chosen for the 2014-2015 One Book, One Northwestern program. The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

Between The World and Me (2015)
Ta-Nehisi Coates

Readers of his work in The Atlantic and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from the tough neighborhoods of Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca” for its revelatory community of black students and teachers—to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. 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. --Jon Foro (Amazon)


Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (2009)
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

In the third edition of his highly acclaimed book, Bonilla-Silva continues to challenge color-blind thinking. He has now extended this challenge with a new chapter on Obama's election addressing the apparent miracle of a black man elected as the 44th President of the nation despite the fact that racial progress has stagnated since the 1980s and, in some areas, even regressed.

What Does It Mean To Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy
Robin DiAngelo

What does it mean to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet is deeply divided by race? In the face of pervasive racial inequality and segregation, most white people cannot answer that question. In the 2nd edition of this seminal text, Dr. DiAngelo reveals the factors that make this question so difficult: mis-education about what racism is; ideologies such as individualism and colorblindness; segregation; and the belief that to be complicit in racism is to be an immoral person. These factors contribute to what she terms white racial illiteracy. Speaking as a white person to other white people, DiAngelo clearly and compellingly takes readers through an analysis of white socialization. Weaving research, analysis, stories, images, and familiar examples, she provides the framework needed to develop white racial literacy. She describes how race shapes the lives of white people, explains what makes racism so hard to see, identifies common white racial patterns, and speaks back to popular narratives that work to deny racism.

We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools (2006)
Gary R. Howard

Once again, in this expanded Second Edition, Gary Howard outlines what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. Howard brings his book up to date with a new introduction and a new chapter that speak directly to current issues such as closing the achievement gap, and to recent legislation such as No Child Left Behind. With our nation’s student population becoming ever more diverse, and teachers remaining largely White, this book continues to facilitate and deepen the discussion of race and social justice in education.

The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Natalie Moore

In this intelligent and highly important narrative, Chicago-native Natalie Moore shines a light on contemporary segregation on the South Side of Chicago through reported essays, showing the life of these communities through the stories of people who live in them. The South Side shows the important impact of Chicago's historic segregation - and the ongoing policies that keep it that way.


The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, 2009
Gloria Ladson-Billings

This new edition of the critically acclaimed book revisits the eight teachers who were profiled in the first edition and introduces us to new teachers who are current exemplars of good teaching. She shows that culturally relevant teaching is not a matter of race, gender, or teaching style. What matters most is a teacher's efforts to work with the unique strengths a child brings to the classroom. This brilliant mixture of scholarship and storytelling challenges us to envision intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant classrooms that have the power to improve the lives of not just African American students, but all children. This new edition also includes questions for reflection.


BYP 100
BYP 100 (Black Youth Project) is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people, through building a collective focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education.

Center for Social Inclusion
The Center for Social Inclusion identifies causes of racial inequity growing out of public policy. CSI develops tools, strategies and leadership for dismantling what we call structural racism, the many unintentional ways in which race-neutral decisions about how to allocate resources and opportunities exclude communities of color and weaken our society as a whole.

Everyday Democracy
A national leader in the field of civic participation and community change, Everyday Democracy helps people of different backgrounds and views talk and work together to solve problems and create communities that work for everyone. We place particular emphasis on the connection between complex public issues and structural racism. Issues addressed include: poverty and economic development; education reform; racial equity; early childhood development; police-community relations; youth and neighborhood concerns.

A great source for anyone seeking information and analysis on wealth and income inequality. Inequality.org is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank based in Washington, DC., and has as its mission to help end economic inequality in the United States and abroad.

Institute on Race & Poverty
The Institute on Race and Poverty (IRP) investigates the ways that policies and practices disproportionately affect people of color and the disadvantaged. A core purpose for IRP’s work is to ensure that people have access to opportunity. Another is to help the places where people live develop in ways that both promote access to opportunity and help maintain regional stability.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

National Association for Multicultural Education
NAME is a non-profit organization that advances and advocates for equity and social justice through multicultural education. They encourage proactively reframing public debate and impacting current and emerging policies in ways that advance social, political, economic and educational equity through advocacy, position papers, policy statements, etc. Also serves as a clearinghouse of resources about educational equity and social justice.

National Indian Education Association
The National Indian Education Association is a membership-based organization committed to increasing educational excellence, opportunities and resources for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students while protecting our cultural and linguistic traditions.

National MultiCultural Institute
The mission of the National MultiCultural Institute (NMCI) is to work with individuals, organizations, and communities to facilitate personal and systemic change in order to build an inclusive society that is strengthened and empowered by its diversity. Through the development of strategic initiatives, partnerships, and programs that promote an inclusive and just society,

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation.

Poverty and Race Research Action Council
The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC's primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues.

Race: The Power of an Illusion
Materials, activities, resources to accompany your use of this PBS series.

Race Forward (formerly Applied Research Center)
Race Forward is a racial justice think tank using media, research, and activism to promote solutions. Our mission is to popularize racial justice and prepare people to fight for it.

Teaching Tolerance
Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and abroad. “Teaching Tolerance” magazine is sent at no cost to teachers, and contains practical ways to address equity issues at all grade levels. Scientific surveys demonstrate that our programs help students learn respect for differences and bolster teacher practice.


Below are a few Ted Talks or YouTube links to videos that can be used as good discussion starters


Learn more, get safe, get involved, empower yourself.