Ezell Ford was walking in his neighbourhood, Tamir Rice was playing in the park, George Floyd was at the grocery store. These are the final moments before the police ended their lives. Yet, these incidents of horror have become far from unique. In The U.S.A, the rate at which black people are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. Our world is sick with systematically engrained racism and it is time for lasting change.
Here you can find a list of books and films about race, the black community and social change, to help us understand the context behind such atrocities, to listen to the stories that gave been kept in the dark for so long and to help us lead with justice and compassion.
‘This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work’
by Tiffany Jewell
This book arms young people with the vocabulary and knowledge to combat racism in society today. Laid out in four neat sections: ‘Understanding Identities’, ‘Our History’, ‘Taking Action’ and ‘Holding the Door Open’, each chapter poses questions to make the reader challenge what they seem to know about racism and reflect on who they are. Complete with illustrations, this vivid and compassionate resource is an excellent introduction for anyone to begin learning about anti-racist work.
‘Don’t Touch My Hair’
by Emma Dabiri
‘Straightened. Stigmatized. ‘Tamed’. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never just hair.’ From pre-colonial Africa to the Harlem Renaissance, to today’s Natural Hair Movement and the battle against cultural appropriation, Emma Dabiri’s 2018 publication ‘Don’t Touch my Hair’ relays a non-fiction journey through which the history, emotion and politics of female black culture is understood. Ultimately, Dabiri proves black hairstyling is more than just hair, but rather, can be seen as a symbol for oppression and ultimately liberation.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo Lodge
This powerful book was a pivotal turning point for discussing race in British literature. Examining the exhaustive experiences of structural racism in Britain, this book explores the implications of white privilege in society through scientific fact, archival material and first-hand testimony.
'The Fire Next Time’
by James Baldwin
This book is a short yet powerful read that features two essays written during 1960s America. The first, a letter by Baldwin to his 14-year old nephew discusses the central role of race in American history. Whereas the second, details Baldwin’s early life in Harlem through an examination of religion and social injustice. At its time of publication in 1963, ‘The Fire Next Time’ helped to ignite the Civil Rights Movement, and today, this novel continues to kindle passion and emotion in readers across the world.
'Your Silence Will Not Protect You’
by Audre Lorde
‘Your silence will not protect you’ is an empowering posthumous collection of essays, poem and speeches by self-proclaimed ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’ Audre Lorde. Touching on themes such as power, feminism, inequality and survival, Lorde explains silence is a form of violence. Silence is complicity, although you may not notice, silence can be felt and silence can be heard. This book offers an opportunity chance to break the silence, for in the words of Audre Lorde, ‘it is the only way to break through to each other’.
Named after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolishes slavery throughout the United States, the documentary film ‘13th’ takes an unapologetic, well-informed look into the American incarceration system, exploring where echoes from the 13th Amendment can still be heard. Analysing convict leasing, the suppression and mass incarceration of African Americans, in addition to the people who benefit from it, ‘13th’ opens discussion to the demonization of minority groups and how this ‘business as usual’ approach is grossly inhumane.
‘The Colour Purple’
Based on the Pullitzer prize winning novel by Alice Walker, this masterpiece of a film follows the story of a poor, uneducated, African- American girl in rural 1930s Georgia. Exploring the unrivalled love between sisters, and a woman’s journey to find fulfilment in spite of repression and abuse, ‘The Colour Purple’ is a deeply moving celebration of community and black female empowerment.
‘12 Years A Slave’
Depicting the gruelling experiences of slavery in the antebellum South, ‘12 years a slave’ is a harrowing film based off the autobiographical narrative of Solomon Northup- a New York born freeman who was drugged, captured by a slave trader and sold.
An inspiring, engaging film based on real- life events, ‘Hidden Figures’ uncovers the untold story of three black female mathematicians: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were heroes in helping America win the Space Race against the Soviet Union.
Historical drama film ‘Selma’ chronicles the turbulent three-month period in 1965, where Dr Martin Luther King organised a dangerous yet epic march campaign from Selma to Montgomery, in order secure equal voting rights for coloured people facing great adversity.
+ Words: Stephanie Frank, Editorial Intern at Luxiders Magazine
London-based student and journalist Stephanie Frank has become dedicated to repurposing fashion as a force for good and is committed to writing about the interfaces between sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and culture.