#BlackLivesMatter Recommended readings in antiracism

Welcome. As the world rises up to resist the brutality of physical and systemic violence exercised against Black people in the United States, many people have asked for ways to educate themselves on the history of the Black experience in the United States, on the histories of police violence, civil disobedience and direct action, organizing and activism, and the possibilities for white ally-ship. Begun as a response to the requests of JMU students past and present, this resource is meant to be a gathering place of readings for anyone who wishes to learn more about how and why we've come to this seismic historical moment. It is made with respect and gratitude to the countless Black scholars, activists, writers, and thinkers (and their indigenous, POC, and white co-conspirators) who have done the work of committing to paper these histories and blueprints for a better world.

In May 2020, Dr. Besi Brillian Muhonja, faculty member and co-coordinator with Dr. Mollie Godfrey of JMU's African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) program issued a social media call for reading resources for students. This is but one of the answers to that call. The faculty of the Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies program (LAXC), coordinated by Dr. Allison Fagan, stand in solidarity with our colleagues in AAAD as we work to maintain and update this resource. Please contact Dr. Fagan at faganae@jmu.edu to contribute citations.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Check out this excellent resource created by Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace, "Justice in June," which gives you specific readings for each calendar day in June based on the amount of time you are able to dedicate to reading each day.

An Important Note

As Lauren Michele Jackson argues in "What is an Anti-Racist Reading List For?",

"The word and its nominal equivalent, “anti-racist,” suggests something of a vanity project, where the goal is no longer to learn more about race, power, and capital, but to spring closer to the enlightened order of the antiracist. And yet, were one to actually read many of these books, one might reach the conclusion that there is no anti-racist stasis within reach of a lifetime. Thus there cannot be an anti-racist canon that does not crystallize the very sense of things it proposes to undermine."

With this in mind, consider the suggestions below.


  • Be sure to ask yourself about your goals for reading, and re-examine them often. Engage in this learning as a life-long practice.
  • Mind the gap between seeking a list of readings and doing the reading. Commit to doing the work.
  • At the same time, don't imagine that you must read everything in order to lend your voice in protest and advocacy.
  • Put that reading and learning into action.
  • Be ready to make mistakes, to own and apologize for those mistakes, and to try again.

Wondering what you can do?

Take the suggestions of the Black Lives Matter organization for donations, advocacy, and other ways to support the movement. Note: they have a list of ways to donate with NO MONEY (sharing links, streaming, etc)

To submit citations and links to materials not listed here, please send an email to faganae@jmu.edu.


Created with images by Drew Coffman - "untitled image" • Kyle Glenn - "Awesome stencil on a book cart outside of Green Apple Books in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond district." • Muukii - "untitled image"