Book: ‘Are Prisons Obsolete?’
Revered civil rights activist Angela Davis makes the argument for the abolition of prisons in “Are Prisons Obsolete?” Davis challenges readers to look at the prison industry a means for control, discrimination, and capitalist exploitation. Davis puts forth convincing arguments that the idea of abolishing prisons is not mere fantasy but feasible and necessary.
Documentary: ‘Fists of Freedom: The '68 Summer Games’
Protests in sports are not new. “Fists of Freedom: The '68 Summer Games” is a documentary about one of the most memorable and important moments in sports: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power salute during the 1968 Summer Olympics. The documentary explores the story and controversy behind this iconic moment in American history.
NPR’s podcast “Throughline” takes a deeper look at human history. Episodes such as “Why 2020 Isn't Quite 1968” and “A Race To Know” hold important conversations regarding issues of racism, humanity, and other sectors of culture.
Poetry: ‘Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry’
"Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry” is a collection of work by Essex Hemphill which explores various aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, exploring the intersection of gender, sexuality, identity, and race. It also reveals the extent of the devastation caused by AIDS within African-American communities. The book won the 1993 American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award and the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award.
Documentary: ‘Owned: A Tale of Two Americas'
“Owned: A Tale of Two Americas” is a 2018 documentary by Giorgio Angelini which uncovers the history of racism in U.S. housing economies. Homeowning is considered an integral part of the American dream, but many have not been able to participate in this achievement. The film investigates the systems that have made that dream unattainable for a number of the nation’s citizens.
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Book: ‘Men We Reaped: A Memoir’
In “Men We Reaped: A Memoir,” award-winning writer Jesmyn Ward gives a touching account of the parallel experiences of those in poverty in America and those who live comfortably without much thought to basic needs or awareness of racial inequality. After losing her brother and four other friends within five years, Ward’s writing allowed her to grieve and confront difficult questions about what it means to be Black in America.
Documentary: ‘An Outrage: A Documentary Film About Lynching in the American South’
The horrific ritual and lasting influence of lynching is examined in an “An Outrage: A Documentary Film About Lynching in the American South.” Lynchings were often done in public in front of crowds filled with average members of communities, but the brutality involved is often obscured in mainstream accounts. In “An Outrage,” directors Lance Warren and Hannah Brown Ayers demonstrate how recent the history of lynching really is through firsthand accounts from witnesses.
Book: ‘The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control’
“The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control” analyzes the creation of a “white” race in order to oppress and maintain superiority. The first of a two-part series, volume 1 draws correlations between Britain's rule over Ireland with the oppresion by white "settler" over Native Americans and African Americans.
Book: ‘When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’
An instant New York Times bestseller, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” is the poetic story of Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. In her memoir co-written with Asha Bandele, she tells of growing up with a single mother in a poverty-ridden community and how she was led to seek justice and equality for Black people. Her memoir questions and expresses themes of politics, womanhood, and being Black in America.
Documentary series: ‘Time: The Kalief Browder Story’
“Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is a series which tells the unsettling story of Kalief Browder, who at 16 was taken and jailed at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack, not allowed to post bail, and forced to spend two years in solitary confinement. The film examines the unjust criminal and economic systems which allowed Browder to be subjected to so much abuse. Following his release, Browder became a voice against the unfair practices of the U.S. criminal justice system before committing suicide two years later at the age of 22.
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