Black Lives Matter – Essential Reading


Black Lives Matter – Essential Reading

Black Lives Matter Protestors

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Charles Kinsey… they all felt like they were going to be watershed moments, the catalyst for change… and perhaps every tragic death has led to this moment. The murder of George Floyd has become a global rally cry and has sparked a real desire for understanding and for change.  

On the 10th June Reni Eddo-Lodge announced via Twitter that she had become the first and only black British woman to top Britain’s non-fiction book bestseller chart. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, was published in June 2017 to critical acclaim and recent events have rocketed reader interest.  As positive as this is, it feels wrong that it has taken a tragedy for it to happen. The author described it as a “horrible indictment of the publishing industry.”  The book though is essential reading.

October is Black History Month and there is no better time to start answering some of the questions you might have about the Black Lives Matter, antiracism and being a good ally. There are a wealth of resources to discover through LibrarySearch but here are a few titles to get you started.

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
“In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanised by this clear hunger for open discussion, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.” – ProQuest Ebook Central.

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White fragility : why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin DiAngelo
Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has – unintentionally – caused racial offence or hurt. After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to ‘liberal’ white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction. Robin DiAngelo coined the term ‘White Fragility’ in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy.” – Official summary

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The Good Immigrant: 21 Writers Explore What It Means To Be Black, Asian, And Minority Ethnic In Britain Today edited by Nikesh Shukla

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or to be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you—however many generations you’ve been here—but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.” ProQuest ebook Central description

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Me and White Supremacy : Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and nearly 100,000 people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook. Updated and expanded from the original workbook, Me and White Supremacy,takes the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.”- Proquest e-book Central

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Citizen: an American lyric by Claudia Rankine

In this moving, critical and fiercely intelligent collection of prose poems, Claudia Rankine examines the experience of race and racism in Western society through sharp vignettes of everyday discrimination and prejudice, and longer meditations on the violence – whether linguistic or physical – which has impacted the lives of Serena Williams, Zinedine Zidane, Mark Duggan and others.” – VleBooks description

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Black Lives, Black Words : 32 Short Plays edited by Reginald Edmund

Do Black Lives Matter? Selected and edited by the award winning American playwright Reginald Edmund, who produced Black Lives, Black Words across the US, which premiered in Chicago, July 2015. The international project has explored the black diaspora’s experiences in some of the largest multicultural cities in the world, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Toronto and London. Over sixty Black writers from the UK, USA, and Canada have each written a short play to address Black issues today. Featured in this collection are: Reginald Edmund, Idris Goodwin, James Austin, Williams, Rachel Dubose, Becca C. Browne, Marsha Estell, Aaron Holland, Loy A. Webb, Lisa Langford, Christina Ham, Harrison David Rivers, Dominique Morisseau, Winsome Pinnock, Trish Cooke, Mojisola Adebayo, Rachel De-Lahay, Max Kolaru, Yolanda Mercy, Somalia Seaton, Courttia Newland, Luke Reece, Tawiah BenEben, M’Carthy Kanika Ambrose. Jordan Laffrenier. Meghan Swaby. Mary Ann Anane. Allie Woodson. Elliot Sagay. Amira Danan. Cat Davidson. Noelle Fourte and Kori Alston” – ProQuest Ebook Central Description

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Further reading

Looking for more? We have a far bigger selection of titles available through LibrarySearch and beyond. Take a look at our recommended reading list. We’ll continue to add new titles as they become available.

View our full Black Lives Matter reading list

Get involved in the conversation

The University has put out a range of blogs over the last few weeks. Here is a selection:

Black Lives Matter, toppling statues and anti-racism: joining the dots –

Racism and the challenge of being of African descent in the UK

An education on race

Working in partnership to close our gap

Featured image credits – Andy Witchger / CC BY (

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