How to Talk About Race in 2017: A Reading List

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:10am -- baglio

How to Talk About Race in 2017: A Reading List

The 2017 Fall Life of the Mind Salon Series continues on Wednesday, October 25th when Ray Rickman holds a conversation about race in 2017. Mr. Rickman will discuss how to talk about race with peers and people outside your own cultural group.

To coincide with Mr. Rickman's conversation, the reading list for this week will focus on race and civil rights in America. The struggle of race has been prevalent in America since before the country's birth, and came to a head in the 1960's with the Civil Rights movement. It is still a major issue and topic of discussion today. Learn more about the trials and tribulations of race in America through this week's reading list. 

 

Eyes on the Prize

By, Juan Williams

From the Montgomery bus boycott to the Little Rock Nine to the Selma–Montgomery march, thousands of ordinary people who participated in the American civil rights movement; their stories are told in Eyes on the Prize. From leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., to lesser-known figures such as Barbara Rose John and Jim Zwerg, each man and woman made the decision that something had to be done to stop discrimination. These moving accounts and pictures of the first decade of the civil rights movement are a tribute to the people, black and white, who took part in the fight for justice and the struggle they endured.

 

Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970

By, Lynne Olson

In this groundbreaking and absorbing book, credit finally goes where credit is due -- to the bold women who were crucial to the success of the civil rights movement. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the lunch counter sit-ins to the Freedom Rides, Lynne Olson skillfully tells the long-overlooked story of the extraordinary women who were among the most fearless, resourceful, and tenacious leaders of the civil rights movement. Freedom's Daughters includes portraits of more than sixty women -- many until now forgotten and some never before written about -- from the key figures (Ida B. Wells, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Baker, and Septima Clark, among others) to some of the smaller players who represent the hundreds of women who each came forth to do her own small part and who together ultimately formed the mass movements that made the difference. Freedom's Daughters puts a human face on the civil rights struggle -- and shows that that face was often female.


White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era

By, Shelby Steele

In 1955 the killers of Emmett Till, a black Mississippi youth, were acquitted because they were white. Forty years later, despite the strong DNA evidence against him, accused murderer O. J. Simpson went free after his attorney portrayed him as a victim of racism. The age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt—and neither has been good for African Americans.

Through articulate analysis and engrossing recollections, acclaimed race relations scholar Shelby Steele sounds a powerful call for a new culture of personal responsibility.

 

Race and Rumors of Race: Challenge to American Crisis

By, Howard W Odum

This is the story of racial tension in the United States during the year of global war from mid-1942 to 1943. The author sees three groups to blame for this tension: the new African-American, better educated, better aware of his economic potentialities; northern agitators campaigning for black rights; and the old white South, unwilling to relinquish its traditional folkways

 

Running on Race: Racial Politics in Presidential Campaigns 1960-2000

By, Jeremy D. Mayer

 

Racial politics has permeated American presidential campaigns for more than half a century. From John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, presidents-to-be and their adversaries have dealt with the problems and the opportunities presented by America’s bitter racial divide. Some chose to embrace racial progress, others to play to the white backlash, and still others attempted to do both, often with surprising success.

Jeremy D. Mayer has studied every presidential race from JFK’s campaign in 1960 to George W. Bush’s in 2000 and the crucial difference the black vote has made in each election.

By looking at this all-important aspect of our political life and coming up with new information, Mayer offers fresh insights into one of the most significant factors in our process of determining who governs us.

 

Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830

By, John Wood Sweet

 

In this sweeping analysis of colonialism and its legacies, John Wood Sweet explores how the ongoing interaction of conquered Indians, English settlers, and enslaved Africans in New England produced a closely interwoven, though radically divided, society. The coming together of these diverse peoples profoundly shaped the character of colonial New England, the meanings of the Revolution in the North, and the making of American democracy writ large.

Critically engaged with current debates about the dynamics of culture, racial identity, and postcolonial politics, this innovative and intellectually capacious work is grounded in a remarkable array of evidence. What emerges from this analysis of colonial and early national censuses, newspapers, diaries, letters, court records, printed works, and visual images are the dramatic confrontations and subtle negotiations by which Indians, Africans, and Anglo-Americans defined their respective places in early New England. Citizenship, as Sweet reveals, was defined in meeting houses as well as in courthouses, in bedrooms as well as on battlefields, in land disputes as well as on streets. Bodies Politic reveals how the legacy of colonialism shaped the emergence of the nineteenth-century North and continues, even to this day, to shape all our lives.

 

The Ordeal Of Integration: Progress And Resentment In America's "Racial" Crisis

By, Orlando Patterson

For many years Orlando Patterson has been a major contributor to the public discussion of race in America. In this eagerly anticipated new volume, the author of the National Book Award–winner Freedom in the Making of Western Culture presents a comprehensive exploration of contemporary interethnic relations. Americans are in the midst of a rejuvenated conversation about race. How we talk about race—or fail to—is one of the central themes of this book, which is certain to spark lively debate among intellectuals and policy advocates. Unflinching in his analysis, Patterson chides professional race advocates, the mainstream media, and his fellow academics for homogenizing the 33 million Americans of African ancestry into a single group beset by crises and intractable dilemmas. His willingness to challenge the received wisdom of conservatives, liberals, and genetic determinists alike affords us the opportunity to critically examine our own preconceived notions and prejudices. An experienced policy advisor, Patterson brings to the national discussion a lifetime of study of slavery, freedom, and ethnic inequality worldwide. His practical recommendations emphasize solutions to problems too often described as unsolvable. For the one-fourth of the Afro-American population at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder, his suggestions include housing vouchers, limiting the influx of low-skilled immigrants, and instituting a highly original policy to reduce teenage childbearing. He remains firmly committed to school desegregation, supports intermarriage as a means of promoting full integration, and takes American religious leaders to task for the ”scandal of segregation” within their churches. Responding to widespread antagonism toward affirmative action, Patterson advocates retaining it for another fifteen years, eventually replacing it with a class-based policy. Standing as a challenge to those who insist on dwelling on the failures of race relations, the Ordeal of Integration admonishes Americans to stop exaggerating the intractability of persistent ethnic problems and start focusing on what works.

 

Back to Mississippi: A Personal Journey Through the Events That Changed America in 1964

By, Mary Winstead

Mary Winstead grew up in Minneapolis, captivated by her fathers tales of his boyhood in rural Mississippi. As a child, she visited her relatives down South, and her nostalgia for that world and its people would compel her to collect her fathers stories for her own children. But Winsteads research into her family history led her to a series of horrifying revelations: about her relatives ingrained racism, their involvement with the Klan, and their connection to the infamous 1964 murders of three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney. Writing with dignity, humility, and a profound sense of time and place, Winstead chronicles her awakening to painful truths about people she loved and thought she knew. She profiles her father, a man of remarkable charm and secretiveness. She traces her family's roots through post-Civil War poverty, Southern pride, and Jim Crow laws, exploring racism on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Most movingly, she details her own inner war, a battle between her love for her family and their untenable beliefs and practices.

 

The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America

By, Raymond Arsenault

On Easter Sunday 1939, the brilliant vocalist Marian Anderson sang before a throng of seventy-five thousand at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington―an electrifying moment and an underappreciated milestone in civil rights history. Though she was at the peak of a dazzling career, Anderson had been barred from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall because she was black. When Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR over the incident and took up Anderson's cause, however, it became a national issue. Like a female Jackie Robinson―but several years before his breakthrough―Anderson rose to a pressure-filled and politically charged occasion with dignity and courage, and struck a vital blow for civil rights.

In the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King would follow, literally, in Anderson's footsteps. This tightly focused, richly textured narrative by acclaimed historian Raymond Arsenault captures the struggle for racial equality in 1930's America, the quiet heroism of Marian Anderson, and a moment that inspired blacks and whites alike.


Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation

By, Deborah Davis

In this revealing social history, one remarkable White House dinner becomes a lens through which to examine race, politics, and the lives and legacies of two of America’s most iconic figures. 

In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to have dinner at the executive mansion with the First Family. The next morning, news that the president had dined with a black man sent shock waves through the nation. Fueled by inflammatory newspaper articles, political cartoons, and even vulgar songs, the scandal escalated and threatened to topple two of America’s greatest men. 

In this smart, accessible narrative, one seemingly ordinary dinner becomes a window onto post–Civil War American history and politics, and onto the lives of two dynamic men whose experiences and philosophies connect in unexpected ways. Deborah Davis also introduces dozens of other fascinating figures who have previously occupied the margins and footnotes of history, creating a lively and vastly entertaining book that reconfirms her place as one of our most talented popular historians.

 

Like A Mighty Stream: The March On Washington

By, Patrik Henry Bass

The March on Washington, one of the most significant public events of the 20th century, is remembered in this amazing book that details the defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement. On August 28, 1963, people from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds, races and religions came together to support a national civil rights initiative. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s stirring delivery of his now historic "I Have a Dream" speech signaled a turning point in United States contemporary history for a generation, a nation, and the world. Acclaimed journalist and author Patrik Henry Bass weaves eyewitness accounts, photographs, reporting, and observations into a memorable mosaic of one of the most unforgettable events in American history.

 

W. E. B. Du Bois, 1919-1963: The Fight for Equality and the American Century

By, David Levering Lewis

This monumental biography--eight years of research and writing--treats the early and middle phases of a long and intense career: a crucial fifty-year period that demonstrates how Du Bois changed forever the way Americans think about themselves.

 

Pillar of FIre: America in the King Years 1963-65

By, Taylor Branch

From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch, the second part of his epic trilogy on the American Civil Rights Movement.

In the second volume of his three-part history, a monumental trilogy that began with Parting the Waters, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Taylor Branch portrays the Civil Rights Movement at its zenith, recounting the climactic struggles as they commanded the national stage.