Black History Month may be over but our need to learn will never cease. Here are some suggestions from our Godspace writers and readers that can help inspire and educate us.
Suggestions from Intervarsity Press:
- All God’s Children: How Confronting Buried History Can Build Racial Solidarity by Terrence Lester. “This honest account of what it’s like to be Black in America paves the way for the church to move beyond showing support from a distance toward loving one another in long-term solidarity, advocacy, and friendship.”
- Beyond Racial Division: A Unifying Alternative to Colorblindness and Antiracism by George A. Yancey. “Avoiding unilateral decisions that close off dialogue, Yancey casts a vision for moving beyond racial alienation toward a lifestyle and movement of collaborative conversation and mutuality.”
- The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change by Rick Richardson and Brenda Salter McNeil. “In this book Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson provide a model of racial reconciliation, social justice, and spiritual healing that creates both individual and communal transformation.”
- Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity by David W. Swanson. “Swanson proposes that we rethink our churches’ habits, or liturgies, and imagine together holistic, communal discipleship practices that can reform us as members of Christ’s diverse body.”
- Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience by Sheila Wise Rose. “In each chapter, she includes an interview with a person of color to explore how we experience and resolve racial trauma. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience.”
Suggestions from Bethany Dearborn Hiser:
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown http://austinchanning.com/the-book. Powerful, compelling truth-telling about what it’s like for a woman of color to navigate systems of white supremacy in the church.
- Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience by Sheila Wise Rowe. From the description: “Professional counselor Rowe exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future.”
Suggestions from Tom Sine:
- When We Stand: The Power of Seeking Justice Together by Terence B. Lester. “I was so impressed by Terrence’s book that I had a 40 minute Zoom visit him.. Terrence is not only a compelling author for justice in these troubled times he is an effective activist.”
Suggestions from Godspace readers:
- Lanterns by Marion Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Women of color in the workplace: The persistent obstacles and how you can rise to meet them by Fingerprint For Success
- The Broken Road by Peggy Wallace Kennedy
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- How to be an Anti-racist by Ibram X Kendi
- Radical hospitality, Benedict’s way of love by Lonni Collins Pratt (regardless of your belief structure, this is a great book on how to be).
- God is Not a White Man by Chine McDonald – suggested from David Pott
Suggestions from Diane Woodrow:
- “Black and British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga. David is a renowned historian and a great story teller. Did you know Black African People had been coming to Britain on and off since Roman times? Some as freedmen, some as slaves. The things David reveals are surprising and shocking and so a part of this island’s history that they should be taught in schools as just a part of our history. This is a book to read slowly.
- “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernadine Evaristo is another great book talking about the racism that goes on subtly in Britain. It is a fiction book that gently follows the lives of an intermixed group of British Black and mixed race women and the racism that just learn to go with and accept, which is very interesting. A gentle eye opening book I felt.
- https://blackbritishhistory.co.uk/ I came across this site when I had to Google to get the proper details of David Olusoga’s book. What amazes me is that I didn’t even know about Black British history until I read David’s book and now I’m finding there is a website.
- In fact, another great place I’ve found for reading about people of different races is from https://www.shelterbox.org/book-club/
Suggestions from Lisa Scandrette:
- “The God Who Sees” by Karen Gonzalez: This is a clear and compelling weaving of the stories of Ruth, Abraham, Hagar, Joseph, Jesus, modern day immigrants, and González’s family’s own immigration story, information on current immigration policies, and God’s heart and guidance for how we should care for immigrants. The book is a quick read, but it is rich!
- “The Color of Life” by Cara Meredith: Cara tells her story of marrying the son of civil rights icon, James Meredith, and her journey from a white world where everyone looked like her to a more colorful one. She explores how we navigate desperately needed conversations about race, how we teach our children a theology of love and reconciliation, and what it means to make space for the image of God in everyone.
- “Decolonizing Evangelicalism” by Randy Woodley and Bo Sanders: “Woodley and Sanders provide a unique combination of indigenous theology and academic theory to point readers toward the way of Jesus. Decolonizing Evangelicalism is a starting point for those who hope to change the conversation and see that he world could be lived in a different way.” (from the back cover)
- “Native” by Kaitlyn Curtice: “Native is about identity, soul searching, and the never-ending journey of finding ourselves and finding God. As both a citizen of the Potawatomi nation and a Christian, Kaitlin Curtice shares what it means to experience her faith through the lens of her Indigenous heritage and encourages us to embrace our own origins.” (also from the back cover.)
- “Separated by the Border” by Gena Thomas: What drives a mother to risk everything and bring her child to an unknown country? What happens when that mother and child are separated? How can we as Christians love those who are stretched to the point of desperation? This is the story of Lupe, Julia and Gena. It’s a hard, painful, heartbreaking story. It’s a beautiful and hopeful story as well. Lupe was attempting to come to the U.S. with her daughter, Julia. After braving the dangers of their home country and the journey north, Lupe and Julia are separated. Lupe is sent back to Honduras as Julia remained in the U.S. Their story intersects with Gena when Gena’s family takes Julia in as a foster child. With no easy or trite answers, “Separated by the Border” shares the complicated and traumatic story of a birth mother, a foster mother, and a migrant child’s journey. It demonstrates the tenacious love of a mother, and the love we can have for one another in our places of deepest need.
- “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson: “Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.” (from the Amazon description)
Suggestions from Coe Hutchison:
- PBS special, “The Black Church: This is our story, This is our Song” is excellent.
- These books are also recommended:
- Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
- Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson
I’ve heard these are good too, but haven’t read yet:
- Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice by by Brenda Salter McNeil
- The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
- White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
- My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by by Resmaa Menakem
We recommend you read this excellent article that Coe wrote about what he has learned through his reading.
My go to people for resources on racial reconciliation are Lisa Sharon Harper and Brenda Salter McNeill two amazing women of color who help keep me informed and struggling with these issues.
If there are other books you would like to add to this list please leave a comment below or email to email@example.com
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I read a note last month by a bible teacher who said it requires that a Christian must love his Black neighbors to help fight racism. Do you know if any writings that you give references accentuate this love?
Unfortunately, I do not believe that it would be successful to fight it with love because I am told that only 20% of church members are devout enough to live in such love.
I would start with Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love. Though it is not specifically about loving people of colour it is about loving people who are different. Very challenging but important.