Resources for Promoting Racial Justice and Eliminating Anti-Black Violence

We know many of you are involved in or following current movements around the world to promote racial justice and end systemic anti-black violence and oppression. 

Below are books, films and podcastsgathered by members of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging at Columbia in partnership with Columbia Libraries, along with a list of organizations advocating for justice across the country and a Columbia conversation about race. You can use these resources to learn about and engage on these issues. 

Please note: We continually update this list, so please check back frequently. Write to with questions or recommendations.


All descriptions are excerpted from the book summaries.

black and white book cover showing Black man in a hat facing a wallDark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

by Simone Browne

In Dark Matters, Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices and lantern laws. (Image courtesy of Duke University Press.)

black book cover with "Thick" in white block text, "And other essays" in red cursive text, and "Tressie McMillan Cottom" in yellow cursive Thick: And Other Essays

by Tressie McMillan Cottom

In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom — award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed — embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society. (Image courtesy of The New Press.)

A light brown background with the following black text " Angela Y Davis – Women Race and ClassWomen, Race and Class

by Angela Davis

A powerful study of the women's liberation movement in the U.S., from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis. (Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.)

Book cover with "When Affirmative Action was White" in black text on red background, "An untold history of racial inequality in 20th century america" in yellow text set and "Ira Katznelson" in black text set against a red backgroundWhen Affirmative Action Was White

by Ira Katznelson

In this "penetrating new analysis" (New York Times Book Review), Ira Katznelson fundamentally recasts our understanding of 20th century American history and demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. (Image courtesy of WW Norton.)

 "Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, new Forward by Cheryl Clarke" and "Sister Outsider" in black letteringSister Outsider: Essays and Speech

by Audre Lorde

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. (Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.)

 "At the Dark End of the Street – Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – a New History f the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power" At the Dark End of the Street

by Danielle McGuire

Rosa Parks was often described as a sweet and reticent elderly woman whose tired feet caused her to defy segregation on Montgomery’s city buses, and whose supposedly solitary, spontaneous act sparked the 1955 bus boycott that gave birth to the civil rights movement. The truth of who Rosa Parks was and what really lay beneath the 1955 boycott is far different from anything previously written. (Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.)

Cream color background. "Spectacle – The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga" in red text and picture of young black person. Spectacle

by Pamela Newkirk

An award-winning journalist reveals a little-known and shameful episode in American history, when an African man was used as a human zoo exhibit — a shocking story of racial prejudice, science and tragedy in the early years of the 20th century in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Devil in the White City, and Medical Apartheid. (Image courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers.)

Cream Colored background with black circle. Text within circle reads "How We Get Free – Black Feminism and the Combahee River CollectiveHow We Get Free

by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

The Combahee River Collective, a path-breaking group of radical black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the antiracist and women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to black feminism and its impact on today’s struggles. (Image courtesy of Haymarket Books.)


White background, black text that reads " The problem is not police training, police diversity or police methods. The problem is the dramatic and unprecedented expansion and intensity of policing in the last forty years, a fundamental shift in the role of police in society. The problem is policing itself" in black text and "The End of Policing" in large bold red text.  The End of Policing

by Alex Vitale (free download)

Recent years have seen an explosion of protest against police brutality and repression. Among activists, journalists, and politicians, the conversation about how to respond and improve policing has focused on accountability, diversity, training, and community relations. Unfortunately, these reforms will not produce results, either alone or in combination. The core of the problem must be addressed: the nature of modern policing itself. (Image courtesy of Verso Books.)

 Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader"The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader

by Ida B. Wells

The broadest and most comprehensive collection of writings available by an early civil and women’s rights pioneer. Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks’s courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. The experience shaped Wells’s career, and — when hate crimes touched her life personally — she mounted what was to become her life’s work: an anti-lynching crusade that captured international attention. (Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.)

Blue back ground and a black silhouette of a police officer. The large white text is written over the silhouette and reads " Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?"

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect

by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar and Alana Yu-lan Price (free download)

This collection of reports and essays (the first collaboration between Truthout and Haymarket Books) explores police violence against black, brown, indigenous and other marginalized communities, miscarriages of justice, and failures of token accountability and reform measures. It also makes a compelling and provocative argument against calling the police. (Image courtesy of Haymarket Books.)

Turquoise background with "SNCC The New Abolitionists" in white text and a black and white image of 1960's United States. Howard Zinn is written in large font vertically on the right side of the page.  SNCC: The New Abolitionists

by Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn tells the story of one of the most important organizations of the civil rights movement. SNCC: The New Abolitionists influenced a generation of activists struggling for civil rights and seeking to learn from the successes and failures of those who built the tremendously influential Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It is considered an indispensable study of the organization, of the 1960s, and of the process of social change. Includes a new introduction by the author. (Image courtesy of Haymarket Books.) 


 " Angela Davis & Nikki Giovanni Live on Girltrek's FB" with images and each speaker.A Conversation With Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni

Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni join GirlTrek co-founders Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison for a candid conversation sharing self-care and survival secrets passed down from generations of black women. (Image courtesy of

Image of three seated women participating in a panel discussionBlack Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives

Hear a panel discussion on ways that Black Feminism shapes and informs the current struggles and successes. Featuring Charlene Carruthers, Reina Gossett and Barbara Smith, and sponsored by Creating Change. (Image courtesy of

Animated image of Black Panthers. Text reads "Black Panthers"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years. (Image courtesy of

Image of Claudia RankineClaudia Rankine on Microaggressions

Poet Claudia Rankine and choreographer Will Rawls discuss the themes of their Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago performance What Remains, which explores how erasure and exposure shape black American life. (Author photo of Claudia Rankine taken by John Lucas and used by permission of the photographer.)

 " I Am Not Your Negro"I Am Not Your Negro

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. (Image courtesy of

An image of a group in protest, with a helicopter flying overhead. Text reads "Let the Fire Burn" and there is a flame graphic effect on the font. Let the Fire Burn

On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated — and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to "... let the fire burn." Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker James Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history. (Image courtesy of

 "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" in white lettering. The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson

Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious 1992 death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. The film uses archival interviews with Johnson and new interviews with Johnson's family, friends and fellow activists. (Image courtesy of Netflix.)

Dr. Ibram X. KendiHow to Be an Antiracist: A Conversation With Prof. Ibram X. Kendi

Columbia School of Social Work's Professor Courtney Cogburn engaged in conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University and author of the New York Times bestseller How to Be an Antiracist. Watch the recording of the eventVideo expires on Nov. 11, 2020.