Racial Justice Reading and Film Suggestions


Please note that there will be a book discussion on Sunday, September 23rd at 12:30 on books concerning Slavery in the North. .

Recommended by Dan Smith

Ten Hills Farm - The forgotten History of Slavery in the North by C.S. Manegold.  Beginning with John Winthrop as master of Ten Hills Farm and owner of slaves, the author traces the next 5 family generations of slave owners in the Winthrop family.

New England Bound -Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren. A Pullitizer Finalist.“A bracing and fearless inquiry into the intricate web of slavery and empire into which all New Englanders were bound. Ardently argued, and urgently necessary.” (Jill Lepore, author of New York Burning)

Complicity - How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery by Hartford Courant journalists Anne Farrow, Joel Lang and Jennifer Frank. A well-researched book that demythologizes the region of America known for tolerance and liberation, revealing a place where thousands of people were held in bondage and slavery for both economics and a necessary way of life.

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. The author explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape with answers to questions like “Why am I always being told to ‘check my privilege?’”  “Is police brutality really about race?”  “Why can’t I touch your hair?”  What is intersectionality and why do I need it?”

Recommended by the “Building the Beloved Community” Group

The Half Has Never Been Told.  Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist.  This nonfiction book shapes slave narratives and plantation records into a riveting tale showing how the expansion of slavery after the Revolution helped modernize the young capitalist economy. He argues that forced migration and torture were the foundation for achieving America’s dreams of freedom.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is an award-winning novel that follows a protagonist drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend.  Although written as a young adult novel, adults in the BBC group found the characters and plot to be engaging and meaningful.

Recommended for Learning More About the Civil Rights Movement (of special interest  for those going on the Civil Rights Tour)

Walking with the Wind:  A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis. One of the Civil Rights Movement’s most charismatic and courageous leaders, Lewis describes the Nashville movement, Selma Marches, Freedom Rides, and more from his perspective at the center of the movement.

Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch.  For those wanting a detailed and well-written account of the Civil Rights Movement, the author writes about “America in the King Years 1954-1963.”

Eyes on the Prize (film).  See description below.


Get in the Way. The son of an Alabama sharecropper, John Lewis has been a member of Congress since 1986. In between he was one of the first to participate in lunch counter sit ins, was a founding member of SNCC, a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a firm believer of nonviolence and is known to day as the conscience of Congress.  Produced by PBS and can be purchased at Shop.PBS.org or rented at local libraries.

Eyes on the Prize.  A 14 part series of the Civil Rights decade from 1954 to 1965, Beginning with the Montgomery Bus boycott and concluding with the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Produced by PBS and can be purchased at ShopPBS.org. Is also available at local libraries. Those going on the church’s Civil Rights Tour will be particularly interested in episodes depicting the Montgomery bus boycott, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the Birmingham Children’s Crusade.

Films from the spring Racial Justice Documentary Film Series
(available from sources such as Amazon, Netflix, and local libraries)

Bryan Stevenson’s TED Talk is a brilliant and important piece of the underpinnings of Dan’s Sabbatical study on Remembrance and Reparations.

 Slavery by Another Name, is a documentary made from the Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name by Douglas A. Blackmon.

13th,  is a documentary that explores the criminalization of African Americans and the prison boom.

I am Not Your Negro, a film biography of James Baldwin, also includes images from film and media of African Americans from the early 20th century through 2014.

**These books will be discussed after church on Sunday, September 23rd.

To address institutional racism, please call your state representative and Senator, and ask for abolishment of mandatory minimums in sentencing. Ask them to contact the Joint Committee dealing with this legislation. For more background on this...