On Friday, June 5, the Center published a letter to former, current, and incoming students, in the aftermath of the recent injustices resulting in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In the letter we asked our students to “think seriously about ways in which [they] might become agents of change, using [their] training across the disciplines of sociology, cultural anthropology, history, politics, geography, literature, religion, economics, and documentary method to challenge the ideas behind prejudice and systemic social inequality, most immediately, those that make particular sectors of American society targets of racial violence and grossly inadequate healthcare.”

Faculty and staff at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture curated this list of articles, books, documentaries, oral history, music, photography projects, podcasts, and web resources to assist southern studies students and anyone willing to expand their knowledge of the history of anti-racism, race, and racism in America in order to recognize the multiple levels on which it afflicts this nation still. It is our hope that, in and out of the classroom, study provokes meaningful conversations and fuels change.

This list is by no means comprehensive; it is composed of resources recently on the minds of our faculty and staff.

If you would like to read a NOVEL that confronts the power of race in the United States, you might start here:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

William Melvin Kelley, A Different Drummer

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Maurice Carlos Ruffin, We Cast a Shadow

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

If you would like to learn more about the HISTORY of race, race relations, and white supremacy, start here:

Carole Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the

Rise of Jim Crow

Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South,


Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 


Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in


Tiya Miles, Tales of the Haunted South:  Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from

the Civil War Era

The New York Times, “1619” (podcast)

Scene on Radio, “Seeing White” (podcast)

Susan Nieman, Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

Candacy Taylor, Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel

in America

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

James F. Allen, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (and the website by the same name)

Clyde Woods, Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the

Mississippi Delta

If you’d like to start from a SOCIOLOGICAL angle, you might try:

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the

Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American


Zandria Robinson, This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the

Post-Soul South

James M. Thomas, Diversity Regimes: Why Talk is Not Enough to Fix Race Inequality

at Universities

If you would like to read PERSONAL ACCOUNTS of the black experience in America, here are some suggestions:

Debra J. Dickerson, An American Story

Ralph Eubanks, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations

of an Interracial Family in the American South

Ralph Eubanks, Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past, a


Kiese Laymon, Heavy

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

Jesmyn Ward, ed., The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race

Albert Woodfox, Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement.  My

 Story of Transformation and Hope.

If you are interested in reading about the intersection of RACE and THE LAW or about RACE and MASS INCARCERATION  in the United States, look here:

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of


Robert T. Chase, We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners’ 

Rights in Postwar America

Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?

Talitha LeFlouria, Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New


David Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow


Victor Rios, Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

Albert Woodfox, Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement.  My

 Story of Transformation and Hope.

If you are interested in the intersection of RACE and GENDER, try these resources:

Angela Davis, Women, Race, & Class

Crystal Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching

Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Ted Talk, “The Urgency of Intersectionality” (https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality?language=en)

Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow


Patrick Johnson, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South–An Oral History

Patrick Johnson, Black. Queer. Southern. Women. An Oral History

Elizabeth Gillespie McRae, Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the

Politics of White Supremacy

If you’d like to know more about the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, check here:

John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi

Françoise Hamlin, Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the

Mississippi Delta After World War II

Danielle McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and

Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the 

Rise of Black Power

Charles Marsh, God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights

Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the

Mississippi Freedom Struggle

Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of

            Civil Rights History

If you’d like more information about the intersection of RACE and AGRICULTURE, start here:

Pete Daniel, Dispossession: Discrimination Against African American Farmers in the

Age of Civil Rights

Vann R. Newkirk II, “The Great Land Robbery: The shameful story of how 1 million

black families have been ripped from their farms” The Atlantic

If you’re interested in learning more about the nexus of RACE, PROTEST, and MUSIC, you might look here:

Living Blues #256 (August/September 2018) – Blues & Protest

India.Arie, Worthy

Will Campbell, “Mississippi Magic”

Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

Leroi Jones, Blues People: Negro Music in White America

Childish Gambino, “This is America”

Bob Dylan, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”

Bob Dylan, “Only a Pawn in Their Game”

The Staple Singers, “When Will We Be Paid”

Rhiannon Giddens, Freedom Highway

Our Native Daughters (Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison    Russell), Songs of Our Native Daughters

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”

Little Brother Montgomery, “The First Time I Met You”

D’Angelo, Black Messiah

Rage Against the Machine, Evil Empire

Rage Against the Machine, The Battle of Los Angeles

Charles Hughes, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South

William Van De Burg, New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965-1975

If you’re drawn to POETRY, check out these volumes:

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric

Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard

Kevin Young, Brown

Hanif Abdurraqib, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much

Eve Ewing, Electric Arches

We can recommend these DOCUMENTARIES: 

Counter Histories (from the Southern Foodways Alliance)


I Am Not Your Negro

Black Power Mixtape

Whose Streets?

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

What Happened, Miss Simone?

The House I Live In 


When They See Us

Dear White People

Plus these ORAL HISTORY collections:

Joel Buchanan African American Oral History Archives, University of Florida Digital Archives, of particular note are Mississippi Freedom Project interviews with activists and participants in the freedom struggle of the 1960s Mississippi Delta and interviews from St. Augustine African American History Project.

Behind the Veil Project, Duke University highlights the voices of Black men and women who lived under Jim Crow segregation throughout the South.

History Makers, a nonprofit oral history archive based in Chicago, Illinois, their archives include voices of both well-known and everyday African Americans from all over the United States.

Finally, some WEB RESOURCES:

“Amber Ruffin Shares a Lifetime of Traumatic Run-Ins With Police” (Late Night With Seth Myers)

The Black Radical Tradition, https://libcom.org/library/black-radical-tradition

Color of Change, theblackresponse.org

Equal Justice Initiative, www.eji.org

Project South, https://projectsouth.org/

Without Sanctuary, withoutsanctuary.org