A reading list on issues of race.

Harvard faculty recommends the writers and subjects that promote context and understanding.

The wave of anger in reaction to George Floyd’s killing has prompted an outpouring of interest in race and race relations across the U.S. Books on these subjects to top The New York Times Best Sellers list and Barnes & Noble’s Bestsellers. Amazon’s best-selling book, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo, has sold out.

The Gazette asked Harvard faculty members to discuss the books they recommend for those who want to learn more about the issues and expand their understanding of systemic racism, white privilege, and the long legacies of slavery and white supremacy in American history below are the list.


1. “The Souls of Black Folk” (1903) by W.E.B. Du Bois

2. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America” (2019) by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

3. The Origin of Others” (2017) by Toni Morrison

4. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Anti-blackness, and Schooling in San Francisco” (2019) by Savannah Shange

5. “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” (2016) by Arlie Hochschild

6. City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771‒1965” (2017) by Kelly Lytle Hernández

7. “Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945‒2006,” (Third Edition 2007) by Manning Marable

8. “Racism: A Short History” (2015, original ed. 2002) by George Fredrickson

9. “When Police Kill” (2017) by Franklin E. Zimring

10. Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment” (2018) by Angela Davis

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