July 2020- More Racial Justice Suggested Readings
Gretchen Hintz Wronka ’66 and Melissa Reuter Brechon ’77, both professional librarians, offer a selection of books on race and racism.
June 2020 — Racial Justice Suggested Reading
This month, alumna, trustee and activist Kathleen O’Brien ’67, and sociology Professor Daniel A. Williams share reading recommendations to help us reflect on the social justice changes we seek.
Recommendation from Kathleen O'Brian '67
Kathleen has worked as a historian, Minneapolis elected official and administrator for the city and the University of Minnesota. Her work involved increasing access to affordable housing, health care, education, addressing racial disparities, human rights and justice for all. She works to build coalitions with all groups impacted by systematic racism and injustice.
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Won the National Book Award in 2015. Coates’ story of growing up and becoming a journalist as a Black Man. Really, a must read. NY: Spiegal and Grau, 2019
Hope in the Struggle, Josie Johnson
This memoir is of particular interest regarding the struggle for justice here in Minnesota by one of our Civil Rights icons. Johnson is frequently interviewed during these days about her experiences and very effective work on past civil rights issues. Mpls, MN: Univ of Minnesota Press, 2019.
The War Before the War: The Fugitive Slave Act and the Struggle for America’s Soul, Andrew Delbanco
This is the history of slavery before the Civil War. It focuses on the conflict between Abolitionists and Slave Owners climaxing with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850--then leading to the Civil War. Well written and thoroughly researched history. Helps you understand why we should call the lake in Minneapolis Bde MaKa Ska. Painful but well worth the read. NY: Penguin Books, 2019.
The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates
This novel tells the story of slave life in a Virginia plantation, the Underground Railroad, and the struggle for freedom and justice. Well researched, moving story and for those who prefer novels recounts the same life experiences as the historical works. London: One World Publishing, 2019.
Recommendations from Daniel A. Williams
Daniel Williams is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. Daniel Williams' research and teaching focus on race and ethnicity, immigration and belonging, and inequality in society in both the US and abroad. At St. Kate's, Professor Williams teaches courses in Sociology and Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity as well as the Global Search for Justice. Prof. Williams is a son of parents who grew up in St. Paul's Rondo and Frogtown communities, and a son of a St. Kate's alumna and CSJ consociate, Janet Williams, '59.
How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
A Wall Street Journal story quotes author Ibram X. Kendi: “Many people are trying to figure out how they can be part of the struggle to build a nation anew, and they want an affirmative perspective. Being an antiracist allows them to understand what they can be and how they can join the struggle to eliminate racism.” London: One World Publishing, 2019.
White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
A powerful book, White Fragility holds out the thesis that change is possible. DiAngelo invites readers to engage in deep personal inquiry and collective change about race. White fragility stands in the way of our conversation and action about racial equity but, it is possible to overcome this obstacle. The book offers important antiracist understanding and essential strategies for going forward. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2018.
Are Prisons Obsolete? Angela Davis
Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She makes the case for “decarceration”, and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003
May 2020 — Reading Suggestions for Young Adults
For alumni involved in working with or teaching young adults, Kelly Barnhill ’96, poet and writer, suggests several young adult reading selections.
Kelly Barnhill ’96, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories
A collection of short stories, among which is “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch.” A story of loss, love, and basic humanity, Mrs. Sorensen stretches the imagination of the reader in new ways. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2018.
Laura Ruby, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
A ghost story set in Chicago told through historical fiction. Thirteen Doorways was a finalist for the National Book Award. NY: Balzer + Bray, 2019.
Shannon Gibney, Dream Country Through historical fiction, Gibney weaves a story of five generations of family members connecting Africa and America. A finalist for the 2019 Minnesota Book Awards. NY: Dutton, 2018.
Ibi Zoboi, Pride
Haitian-American author, Ibi Zoboi, retells the classic Pride and Prejudice story, in a Brooklyn setting. Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. NY: Balzer + Bray, 2018.