The 6 Most Powerful Books on Critical Race Theory

Other than my focus in the field of psychology, my favorite areas of study are diversity and sociology--within these lies Critical Race Theory (CRT). I've had the great blessing throughout my life to be thoroughly educated on race history, specifically African-American history within the Civil Rights Movement. Since I previously published my top 7 favorite psychology texts, I thought I'd go ahead and share a very important second book list: my top 6 favorite, educational books on race history (that will totally blow your mind!).

1. Slavery By Another Name by Douglas Blackmon

Slavery By Another Name is a tell-all text regarding the widely unnoticed fact that slavery did not end after the civil war.

Something called "convict leasing" took the place of slavery as we knew it. Laws were created that made it virtually inevitable that people of color would end up in jail. Jails would then lease convicts to plantation owners, etc. This legalized slavery for decades after.

Blackmon exposes the truth of America as many of us lose our grasp on our believed reality of history and begin to reconstruct our minds. A must-read!

2. The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race by Bruce Baum

The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race covers the misconceptions of race as fact. Race is a social construct, and believe it or not, there is no such thing as "race", not to mention the "Caucasian race".

All light-skinned individuals have many differences among each other, so to classify all whites one general racial category is disregarding their unique identities.

Racial experiments documented in Race: The Power of an Illusion found that two people from opposite "races" have more DNA similarities than two within the same "race".

3. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow explores the issues of mass incarceration and our communities' unfair arrests/charges largely placed on people of color. The text challenges the idea of "colorblindness" and those who claim that racism has nothing to do with our obvious racial bias in criminal charges.

A legal scholar, Alexander famously states: "We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it."

Yes, legal slavery is over and we no longer have "White" / "Colored" signs at our lunch counters, but our racial divide still exists. This text allows readers to explore this injustice.

4. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time is not an educational text with factual information, but is a fictional story inspired by Baldwin's early days in Harlem.

Captured beautifully throughout two letters, this text calls upon both blacks and whites to end the horrifying trend of racism in our country by analyzing the consequences of racial bias.

Written during the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement and still so relatable to our current equality movements, this book is a classic piece of writing that will forever be remembered in literature.

5. Freedom's Daughters by Lynne Olson

Freedom's Daughters is a riveting text that pin-points monumental moments throughout the Civil Rights Movement (1830-1970), as well as the monumental women who spearheaded these moments.

Covering both African-American female activists who fought for the right to vote, as well as white counterparts that risked their lives standing up for the integrity of fellow womenkind and racial equality.

If you're not aware that Rosa Parks was not the first to stage a seat on the bus (it's only because cameras happened to be there), you need to read this incredible account.

6. State Out of the Union by Jeff Biggers

State Out of the Union is an important text that touches a soft spot for me--the history of Mexican-Americans and Hispanic individuals.

Although the issue of Hispanic-focused racial bias exists in other places than Arizona, this text highlights the main issues of Arizona's S.B. 1070 anti-immigration legislation and the racial bias that supports this law.

A common theme throughout race study is the idea of the United States of America being the place where "dreams come true," however anti-immigration laws like such inhibit some from flourishing in our country.

These books have successfully changed the way I view our American history and my identity as a half-white, half-Mexican individual who has a biological history of racism, but has never experienced memorable racist attacks against them personally.

I'm always looking for more texts that enrich and inspire. Leave recommendations in the comments!

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Kathryn Coffman

Digital and Social Media Marketing Professional at Fashionably Frank Marketing. Lifestyle Blogger at FashionablyFrank.com. Fiercely passionate about helping everyday women + biz owners live their best life!