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Books on Race, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Race Relations for Adults and Children

Black Lives Matter and social justice movements across the United States and worldwide are nothing new. In part based on systemic and systematic racism that has plagued African and Black Americans, LatinX, indigenous people, and people of color for centuries. The intersection of race, race relations, and racial prejudice has contributed to the issue.

To try to understand the topics, Eric Jackson, Ph.D., professor of African American Studies at NKU, identified twenty must-read books. The following books are for adults, teens, college students, and grade school students. The aim is to comprehend the intertwining issues of race and race relations on a local, regional, and national level.

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Adults Books

Racism Without Racist

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Racism Without Racist explores the type of racism that exists in contemporary America. Specifically, the author defines the new type of racism as “color-blind racism” because of the perpetuated white dominance more passively. Often, people who display color-blind racism think of it as not being racist.

Black Feminist Thought

Patricia Hill Collins
The author explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals and African American women outside the academe. Collins provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers. The Black thinkers include Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde.

Related Article: Local African American History

Women, Race, and Class

Angela Davis 
The author, Angela Davis, creates a compelling study of the women’s liberation movement in the United States from abolitionist days to the present. The study demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.

Killing Rage

Bell Hooks
In Killing Rage, the author argues that eradicating racism and sexism must go hand in hand.

Why We Can’t Wait

Martin Luther King, Jr
The author explores the various events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement. The situation that led to the author’s writing of the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is also explored.

The Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison
The classic book examines the plight of a nameless narrator of the novel who describes growing up in a Black American community in the South. The character moves to New York, becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of  “the Brotherhood” and retreating amid violence and confusion.


Toni Morrison
In the emotional story, Sethe, the protagonist, was born into slavery and escaped to Ohio. Eighteen years later, Sethe is still not free. The protagonist has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where many hideous things happened.

Death of the Innocence

Mamie Till-Mosley
In the powerful and emotional book, the author displays the mother of Emmett Till. Death of the Innocence recounts the story of life, the tragic death of Emmett, and the dawn of the civil rights movement.

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson
In the influential book, the author, a brilliant lawyer, tells a true story about the potential for mercy to redeem. The author also discusses the clarion call to fix the broken criminal justice system.

The Miseducation of the Negro

Carter G. Woodson
First published in 1933, the class study illustrates that Black Americans were being culturally indoctrinated rather than taught in American schools. The author concludes that the conditioning caused Black Americans to become dependent and seek out inferior places in the greater society.

 Related Article: Must-Read Black Authors

Woman reading race relations book
Knowledge is power. Read about race, diversity, and inclusion.

Books for K to 12

Copper Sun

Sharon Draper
The book displays the epic story of a young girl torn from an African village, sold into enslavement, and stripped of everything. The young girl holds onto hope.

Grandma’s Purse

Vanessa Brantley-Newton
In the charming picture book, the author shows when Grandma Mimi visits, warm hugs and sweet treats are brought for the special granddaughter. All carried in grandma’s purse.

What were the Negro Leagues

Varian Johnson
The outstanding book chronicles the history of the Negro Baseball leagues.

A Kids’ Book About Racism

Jelani Memory
In the book, racism will clearly describe how it makes people feel when experienced and how to spot it.


Lupita Nyong’o
In the critically acclaimed book, the author follows the story of a young girl who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter. The story is ultimately about colorism and learning to love oneself regardless of skin tone.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
The book helps everyone better understand where humans are at based on the issue of race.

Hidden Figures

Margot Lee Shetterly
The classic book tells the true story of the Black American female mathematicians at NASA. The Black American female’s calculations helped fuel some of America’s most outstanding achievements in space.

Who is Michelle Obama?

Megan Stine
The book chronicles the life story of First Lady Michelle Obama.

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia
The inspiring book tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned the three sisters.

Related Article: African American Museums

About the author, Dr. Eric R. Jackson

Author Dr. Eric R. Jackson
Author and professor, Dr. Eric R. Jackson

Eric R. Jackson holds a doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Jackson is a professor of history and Black studies in the Department of History and Geography at Northern Kentucky University. Eric R. Jackson also teaches American and African American history/studies courses, race relations, and peace studies.

Dr. Jackson has over 50 publications, including articles in such journals as Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, Journal of African American History, and Journal of World Peace.

[email protected]

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Written by Latoya Stiggers

Latoya Stiggers, a writer at The Voice of Black Cincinnati, is the creative force behind the VOBC newsletter and the weekly Things To Do in Cincinnati article. Her engaging writing style and insightful perspectives keep readers informed and connected to the heartbeat of Cincinnati's Black community. Latoya's commitment to delivering compelling content reflects her passion for storytelling and community engagement. Connect with Latoya on LinkedIn to stay updated on her latest projects and achievements.

1 comment

  1. I was astonished to read about the high level of violence against children in many African countries (“The real African Trauma” by F. Jedlicka) – which could have caused transgenerational trauma also for black people living in the US right now.

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