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


Children’s books about cultural diversity and inclusion

Audiobooks on race and education in America

Cincinnati Black Authors who authored books about race relations

Books on equity and inclusion in the workplace


The recent Black Lives Matter and social justice movement across the United States and worldwide is not new. In part, based on systemic and systematic racism, the intersection of race, race relations, and racial prejudice has plighted African and Black Americans, LatinX, indigenous people, and people of color for centuries.


This current movement has reached heightened levels in many societal areas. One manifestation is in the field of police activities and community relations. To try to understand these topics, as well as the intertwining of the issues of race and race relations on a local, regional, and national level, Eric Jackson, Ph.D., professor of African American Studies at Northern Kentucky University, identified twenty must-read books for adults, college students, teens, and grade-school students.


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Adults Books

Racism without Racist

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
This book explores the type of racism that exists in contemporary America. More specifically, the author defines this new type of racism as “color-blind racism” because it perpetuates white dominance and privilege more passively than racism was carried out in the past. Often those who display color-blind racism think they are not racist.


Black Feminist Thought

Patricia Hill Collins
In this outstanding volume, the author explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals and those African American women outside the academe. The author provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde.



Related Article: History of African Americans in Cincinnati



Women, Race, and Class

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


Killing Rage

Bell Hooks
In this compelling volume, the author argues that eradicating racism and sexism must go hand in hand.


Why We Can’t Wait

Martin Luther King, Jr
In this classic book, the author explores, in great detail, the various events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement, especially the situation that led to the author’s writing of the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”


The Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison
This classic book examines the plight of a nameless narrator of the novel who describes growing up in a Black American community in the South, attending a Historically Black college from which he is expelled. He moves to New York, becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of  “the Brotherhood” and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the “invisible man” he imagines himself to be.



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


Death of the Innocence

Mamie Till-Mosley
In this powerful and emotional book, the author displays the mother of Emmett Till recounting the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement.


Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson
In this powerful and emotional book, the author, a brilliant lawyer, tells a true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us and a clarion call to fix our broken criminal justice system.


The Miseducation of the Negro

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


Related Article: Must-Read Books by Black Authors in Cincinnati



Books for K to 12

Copper Sun

Sharon Draper
This book displays the epic story of a young girl torn from her African village, sold into enslavement, and stripped of everything she has ever known except hope.


Grandma’s Purse

Vanessa Brantley-Newton
In this charming picture book, the author shows that when Grandma Mimi visits, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats, and her purse for her special granddaughter.


We Rise We Resist We Raise Our Voices

Cheryl Willis Hudson
In this captivating volume, the author collects the writings and views of fifty of the foremost diverse children’s authors and illustrators to answer the question, “In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?”


What were the Negro Leagues

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


A Kids’ Book about Racism

Jelani Memory
In this book, you will find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.



Lupita Nyong’o
In this 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
This book helps us better understand why we are where we are based on the issue of race.


Hidden Figures

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


Who is Michelle Obama?

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


One Crazy Summer

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


Related Article: Learn the Value of Our History at These African American Museums




About the author, Eric R. Jackson


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


He 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

Writer, The Voice of Black Cincinnati