Reading List for White Fragility Book Discussions

Following is a list of books, non-fiction and fiction, along with a podcast as a follow-up to our Book Discussion Group Zoom Meetings this past year.


Alexander, Michelle
The New Jim Crow—Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
The title says it all
Broom, Sarah
The Yellow House
A memoir about growing up in New Orleans and her family’s fight to own and keep a house all but destroyed by Katrina and what that house symbolized
Carrol, Rebecca
Surviving the White Gaze
This is Rebecca Carrol’s story of being a Black child adopted by white parents who raise her in a rural NH town
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Between the World and Me
A beautifully written letter of an African American journalist to his adolescent son about the “dream” of being white and how being born into a black body makes one feel “less than human”. It’s a powerful and painful read, but a must read for everyone born into a white body.
Cooper, Arshay
A Most Beautiful Think: the True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team
“The moving story of a group of young men growing up on Chicago’s West ide who form the first all-black high school rowing team in the nation, and in doing so not only transform a sport, but their lives.” (from Good Reads website)
D’Angelo, Robin
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
The term “white fragility” refers to the defensiveness white people show when challenged on their ideas of racism. Her book “is dedicated to pulling back the veil on the so-called pillars of whiteness: assumptions that prop up racist beliefs without our realizing it.” (Review in the New Yorker by Katy Waldman)
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Stony the Road
This covers the period from Reconstruction into Jim Crow.
Goodson, Jackqueline
Brown Girl Dreaming
A memoir in verse
Irving, Debby
Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
“As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race.” (Debbie Irving)
Kendi, Ibram X.
How To Be an Anti-Racist
“An essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society” (from Good Reads website)
Kendi, Ibram X. and Keisha N. Blain
Four Hundred Souls: a Community History of African America. 1619-2019
A chorus of extraordinary voices come together to tell one of history’s great epics: the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present.
Kendi, Ibram X.
Stamped From the Beginning
Reviews the history of racism ideas in America. It won the National Book Award.
Mckesson DeRay
On the Other Side of Freedom
The author is a 35 year old black activist, podcaster and co-founder of Campaign Zero which is a policy platform to end police violence. His book documents his experiences growing up in Baltimore, his involvement in the Ferguson protests and his valuable contributions to the current movement toward racial justice.
Noah, Trevor
Born a Crime
A memoir about growing up with apartheid with a white mother and white father.
Rothstein, Richard
The Color of Law
This book details how government at all levels gave birth to and fostered residential segregation in the US. Its institutionalization was neither accidental nor random.
Stevenson, Brian
Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption
Brian Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, is a lawyer who “has won relief for scores of condemned prisoners; exonerated a number of innocent ones; fought to end the death penalty and life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders,” and much more. (The Washington Post review by Rob Warden)
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta
Race for Profit: How Banks and Read Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
This book uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structure and individuals remained intact after redlining’s end…(From UNC Press)
Wilkerson, Isabel
Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents
Exposes, among other things, how the Nazis studied American racial systems in plotting out their out-casting of the Jews.
Wilkerson, Isabel
The Warmth of Other Suns
Won a Pulitzer for telling the story of the Great Migration of Blacks from the South to northern cities and the far west during the period from 1915—1970.
Winters, Mary-Frances
Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit
Defines and explores Black fatigue, the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people.


Bennett, Brit
The Vanishing Half
This novel is “…a multi-generational family saga that tackles prickly issues of racial identity and bigotry and conveys the corrosive effects of secrets and dissembling.” (review from NPR by Heller McAlpin)
Picoult, Jodi
Small Great Things
A novel in which a white supremacist family won’t allow a Black labor and delivery nurse to touch their baby. This causes a situation which leads to a courtroom drama  “…hard to put down.”
Robinson, Marilyn
This novel deals with the problems encountered by an interracial couple living in the middle of the country at a time when interracial marriages were illegal. “A good read and a consciousness raiser.”


“Seeing White”
A 2017 series on Scene on Radio out of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, with this link: