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Make Antiracism #1 in Your School Supplies: A Back-to-School Reading List

Photo credit: Gang Sun

This summer, the uprisings for racial justice and the marches for Black lives have been heartening. And believe me, we need something to root for during our pandemic timeline. This wake-up call to reckon with systemic racism and to dismantle it—and there have been many before—is ringing loud and clear. Now we need that same momentum to carry into the classrooms—all virtual please!—with the same gusto. Because schools are part of the system, too. From kindergarten to the lecture hall, they are a microcosm of the forces of oppression at large on the macro level. The school-to-prison pipeline and resource officers are permanent reminders of how white supremacy culture is dangerously upheld and enforced in the name of education.

With back-to-school season practically knocking at the door, we’d like to point to some select titles from our catalog on making antiracism a reality in schools.


For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood

New York Times Bestseller

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood . . . and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

“There are power dynamics, personal histories, and cultural clashes stemming from whiteness and all it encompasses that work against young people of color in traditional urban classrooms. This book highlights them, provides a framework for looking at them, and offers ways to address them in the course of improving the education of urban youth of color.”
—Christopher Emdin 


Holding Fast to Dreams

Winner of the ACE Lifetime Achievement Award

Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth, from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement

“We now have African Americans who are placed in faculties of science and engineering departments and medical schools. We are making progress, but it is bittersweet. We are encouraged when one of our students who has recently earned the PhD becomes the first African American hire in a department, but we also need to finally, as a nation, get beyond each of these hires being ‘the first.’ We can accomplish this only by working deliberately, as a STEM community, to achieve this goal.

All of this requires culture change. Not a change in behavior alone but a change in perspective, values, and the willingness to act. Telling stories is the first step. Inspiring others is the next. Looking in the mirror comes next. Then come identifying the problem, collecting data to understand the problem, and bringing those who can enact change into the conversation and into solving and working on the problem. This is not an easy, comfortable, or brief process. It takes a community, it takes hard work, it takes time, but it can be done.”
—Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III 


Lift Us Up, Don't Push Us Out!

“Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out!”: Voices from the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement

“Profound racial inequities and injustice in public education far predate the Trump and Obama administrations. They are rooted in deep-seated systems of white supremacy in the United States. The struggle for educational justice is part of a long-term historic struggle for freedom and liberation. We are at a new moment and must respond to new challenges.”
—Mark R. Warren with David Goodman


None of the Above

None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators

“People had strong reactions to the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal because it’s true that there are real problems facing our public education system. Education is integral to a healthy democracy, so our concerns about education often illicit deeper anxieties about societal well-being. But the only way toward a public education that benefits all students, and society as a whole, entails addressing the root causes of the inequities and shortcomings that now exist. The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal was a distraction that deferred the real reckoning that we need to have”
—Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton


Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools

Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools: The Impact of Charters on Public Education
Raynard Sanders, David Stovall, Terrenda White

“The fight for publicly funded public education is a constant struggle for poor, working-class, and even middle-class families. The introduction of so-called choice and competition in the form of charters is surrounded by opportunity for the ruling class to basically extort monies from already financially strapped public schools, while shifting those funds into the hands of those who benefit the most from the opportunity gap and their friends and families.”
—Karen Lewis, foreword


We Want to Do More Than Survive

Winner of 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Education Freedom

“To begin the work of abolitionist teaching and fighting for justice, the idea of mattering is essential in that you must matter enough to yourself, to your students, and to your students’ community to fight. But for dark people, the very basic idea of mattering is sometimes hard to conceptualize when your country finds you disposable.”
—Bettina L. Love