Mass Incarceration & Race: Selected Readings

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Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. A Novel, c. 2013

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness, c. 2010

Allen, James, Hilton Als, Congressman John Lewis, Leon F. Litwack. Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, c. 2000

 Without Sanctuary brings to life one of the darkest and sickest periods in American history … The photographs in this book make real the hideous crimes that were committed against humanity. –Congressman John Lewis

Banks, Russell. Cloudsplitter: A Novel, c. 1998

 A triumph of the imagination and a masterpiece of modern storytelling, Cloudsplitter is narrated by the enigmatic Owen Brown, last surviving son of America’s most famous and still controversial political terrorist and martyr, John Brown. Cloudsplitter is dazzling in its re-creation of the political and social landscape of our history during the years before the Civil War, when slavery was tearing the country apart.

Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, c. 2014

Barber II, The Rev. Dr. William J. with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear, c. 2016

Barkow, Rachel Elise. Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration, c. 2019

Bazelon, Emily. Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, c. 2019

Bazelon, Lara. Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction, c. 2018

Benjamin, Ruha. Race After Technology: Abolistionist Tools for the New Jim Code, c. 2019

Blackmon, Douglas A. Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, c. 2008

Boesak, Allan Aubrey & Curtiss Paul DeYoung. Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism, c. 2012

Buck, Elaine and Beverly Mills. If These Stones Could Talk: African American Presence in the Hopewell Valley, Sourland Mountain and Surrounding Regions of New Jersey, c. 2018

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me, c.2015

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, c. 1845

Eggers, Dave. What is the What: A Novel, c. 2006

Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina, c. 2009

Forman, Jr., James. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, c. 2017

Glaude, Jr., Eddie S. Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, c. 2020

Glaude, Jr., Eddie S. Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, c. 2016

Grisham, John. The Guardians: A Novel, c. 2019

Haley, Alex. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, c. 1964

Harding, Vincent. There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America, c. 1981

Irving, Debby. Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, c. 2014

Kendi, Ibram X., Stamped From the Beginning, c. 2016

Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era, c. 2013

King, Jr., The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” c. 1963

Lederach, John Paul. The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. Clear articulation of the guiding principles by a pioneer in the field, c. 2003

Magnani, Laura & Harmon L. Wray. Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System, c. 2006

Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, c. 2016

Obama, Michelle. Becoming, c. 2018

Pfaff, John F. Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform, c. 2017

Sered, Danielle. Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and A Road to Repair, c. 2019

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, c. 2014.

Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner, c. 1966

Syphax, Tracey D. From the Block to the Boardroom. As told to Detric “Qadiriyyah” Goss

Taylor, Mark Lewis. The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, c. 2015

Thurman, Howard. Jesus and the Disinherited, c. 1976

Van Der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, c. 2014

Wallis, Jim. America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, c. 2016

West, Cornel. Race Matters, c. 1993

Western, Bruce. Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison, c. 2018

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad: A Novel, c. 2016

Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, c. 2010

Yaffe, Deborah. Other People’s Children: The Battle for Justice and Equality in New Jersey’s Schools, c. 2007

Zehr, Howard. Changing Lenses: Restorative Justice for Our Times, c. 1990

Zehr, Howard. The Little Book of Restorative Justice. A bestselling book by one of the founders of the movement, c. 2015


Bill Moyers interview with Michelle Alexander


Bryan Stevenson speaking at Harvard



A Netflix documentary referencing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution – excellent summary of mass incarceration issues. https://www.netflix.com/watch/80091741

College Behind Bars

2019 American television documentary series, directed by Lynn Novick, which originally aired on PBS. It focuses on the lives and academic careers of inmates in the Bard Prison Initiative. 4 episodes, available on Netflix, PBS Passport (for contributors to NPR) and Amazon.

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