Photo by Gotta Be Worth It

There are plenty of books about racism and slavery, especially here in America, where such deplorable acts played a huge part in forming the country’s history.

Author Marvin Blake is well aware of this history, which is why he wrote the book Whya story centered on racism and slavery between paternal sisters with different skin colors. The epic tale spans the years 1838 to 1863 and follows the stories of two sisters—one white and the other black—who were both born on Virginia’s opulent Rosewood Plantation in 1847, just three days apart.

Seeing that Marvin’s book tackled slavery and racism, we figured we’d introduce other books discussing the same subject. Buckle up as we look at books that examine the history of racism in America.

Why by Marvin Blake — One of the Best Books About Racism and Slavery

Why is an epic tale that spans the years 1838 to 1863 and follows the stories of two sisters—one white and the other black—who were both born on Virginia’s opulent Rosewood Plantation in 1847, just three days apart.

The master and mistress of Rosewood, members of the wealthiest cotton estates in the state of Virginia, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Billings, are the parents of the white sister. However, the black girl is a product of a union between Rosewood Plantation’s master, Henry Billings, and a female black slave.

Eventually, as the sisters grow older and wiser, they are forced to live in and experience three different cultures due to the volatile events of this period in American history. One sister has to decide between her lifelong love for her sibling and the love that she begins to feel for a Comanche Warrior.

It’s a wild tale of sisterly love that tells readers, “Regardless of the color of our skins, deep down, we are all sisters and brothers — we are all humans.”

Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs by Colin Gordon

The 2014 incident of Michael Brown (who got shot to death) in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked nationwide protests and increased awareness of systemic racism and police brutality. Ferguson, though, was not an outlier.

The events in Ferguson, as Colin Gordon demonstrates, highlighted not only the systemic racism of the local police force, but also how decades of public policy had effectively separated people and restricted citizenship. And it’s not just happening in Ferguson. It’s also present throughout the St. Louis suburbs.

Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, Second Edition Edited by Alfreda M. Duster; New Foreword by Eve L. Ewing; New Afterword by Michelle Duster

American truth-teller Ida B. Wells is a national treasure. She was an early advocate for investigative journalism, a fervent opponent of lynching, and a relentless supporter of suffrage for her fellow women and African Americans. She was born to slave parents.

This fascinating autobiography, first released in 1970, details Wells’s public activism for justice and equality and her life as a teacher and mother. It’s a story centered on racism and slavery that shows how the past still affects the future.

The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills by David A. Ansell, MD

When listing everything that the poor lack, we frequently forget about the most important one—their health. The poor pass away sooner. Black people experience earlier death.

Blacks living in poverty also pass away earlier than practically all other Americans. David A. Ansell provides a somber overview of these facts in The Death Gap, drawing on his observations and the experiences of his Chicago-area patients.

Let’s Fight Against Racism and Slavery in the Present

Although there are no longer blatant examples of slavery in today’s time, the effects of racism and slavery remain with us today. Their vile echoes still reverberate in some people’s souls, and we must continue to fight those ideologies in the present. A story centered on racism and slavery serves to open our eyes so that we may support a better cause.

By reading books about racism and slavery, like Marvin Blake’s Why, we can better understand what is racism and slavery and why they’re wrong.

Purchase a copy of the book today, and read our other blog posts, too. In some of our articles, you’ll learn about authors who are reshaping conversations about race and racism.