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Resources for Understanding: the Social Movement to End Police Violence Against African Americans

The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has sparked protests across the country, and reignited the social movement against racism and police violence. As conversations about racial injustice take shape in homes, in the news, on social media, and in the streets of American cities, it is important to recall the long history of discrimination and its relation to policing, as well as the history of resistance and innovative activism against racism.

We offer this list of books as an invitation to use UC Davis Library resources to study this social problem, and hopefully, to assist in the construction of lasting, equitable and just solutions. It includes books on civil rights, police violence, racial discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of these books were included in a list we assembled five years ago, after the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. These still relevant titles are joined by several important new works that push the analysis further.

It is not an exhaustive list, and it only represents a fraction of available resources. It supplements resource guides by educators and activists (such as this Shareable Anti-Racism Resources Guide by Tasha K. Ryals). The present list of books from the UC Davis Library is a small part of wider and dynamic conversation, which can be accessed by following the authors and concepts outlined below. It illustrates the varied approaches taken by scholars who are thinking deeply about the condition of the problem, and working to create the positive social change necessary to end injustice against African Americans.

To locate and read these books, cut and paste the title into the main search box on the UC Davis Library catalog.  Many of the titles are available electronically to UC Davis affiliates.

Additional resources and support for researchers studying this topic, or related topics, can be found by way of these library subject guides on African and African American Studies, Sociology, and History.

As research evolves and progresses in this area, the Library will be providing access to new resources. Please feel free to recommend titles and sources as we build our collections and guides.

Resources for Understanding: the Social Movement to End Police Violence Against African Americans

Alexander, Michelle, and Cornel West. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Rev. ed, New Press, 2012.

Almaguer, Tomás. Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California. University of California Press, 1994.

Ashe, Bertram D. editor, and Ilka Saal. Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination. University of Washington Press, 2020.

Austin, Tiffany, et al. Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era. Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group, 2020.

Aviram, Hadar. Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment. University of California Press, 2015.

Baker, Houston A., and Merinda Simmons, editors. The Trouble with Post-Blackness. Columbia University Press, 2015.

Barnes, Sandra L., et al., editors. Repositioning Race: Prophetic Research in a Postracial Obama Age. State University of New York Press, 2014.

Bebout, Lee, et al. Teaching with Tension: Race, Resistance, and Reality in the Classroom. Northwestern University Press, 2019.

Berrey, Ellen. The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice. The University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Berrey, Stephen A. The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of Race, Civil Rights, and Segregation in Mississippi. The University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Bhopal, Kalwant. White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society. Policy Press, 2018.

Blomley, Nicholas K. Unsettling the City: Urban Land and the Politics of Property. Routledge, 2004.

Bloom, Lisa. Suspicion Nation: The inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It. Counterpoint, 2014.

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. 3rd ed, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.

Bosworth, Mary, and Jeanne Flavin, editors. Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror. Rutgers University Press, 2007.

Boustan, Leah Platt, and Bureau of Economic Research National. Racial Residential Segregation in American Cities. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013,

Boyles, Andrea S.. You Can’t Stop the Revolution: Community Disorder and Social Ties in Post-Ferguson America. University of California Press, 2019.

Brown, Michael K., editor. Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society. University of California Press, 2003.

Capshaw, Katharine. Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks. University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Carmen, Alejandro del. Racial Profiling in America. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.

Carruthers, Charlene A.. Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. Beacon Press, 2018.

Cashmore, Ernest, and Eugene McLaughlin, editors. Out of Order?: Policing Black People. Routledge, 1991.

Centeno, Miguel Angel, and Katherine S. Newman, editors. Discrimination in an Unequal World. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Childs, Dennis. Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary. University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

Clark, Kenneth Bancroft. Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power. 2nd ed., 1st Wesleyan ed, Wesleyan University Press, 1989.

Cooper, Hannah L. F.. From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé, editor. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement. New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co, 1995.

Dache, Amalia, et al. Rise up!: Activism as Education. Michigan State University Press, 2019.

DiAngelo, Robin J. author. White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Beacon Press, 2018.

Diverlus, Rodney editor, et al. Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada. University of Regina Press, 2020.

Donohue, John J., et al. The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime. National Bureau of Economic Research, 1998,

Dorrien, Gary J. Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Social Gospel. Yale University Press, 2018.

Douglas, Kelly Brown. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God. Orbis Books, 2015.

Dowling, Julie A., and Jonathan Xavier Inda, editors. Governing Immigration through Crime: A Reader. Stanford Social Sciences, an imprint of Stanford University Press, 2013.

Epp, Charles R., et al. Pulled over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship. The University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Evans, Brad, and Henry A. Giroux. Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle. City Lights Books, 2015.

Evans, Stephanie Y., et al. Black Women and Social Justice Education: Legacies and Lessons. State University of New York Press, 2019.

Evans-Winters, Venus E., and Magaela C. Bethune, editors. Re(Teaching) Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice and Human Freedom. Sense Publishers, 2014.

Feagin, Joe R. The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing. 2nd ed, Routledge, 2013.

Fernández-Kelly, María Patricia. The Hero’s Fight: African Americans in West Baltimore and the Shadow of the State. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Franke, Katherine. Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition. Haymarket Books, 2019.

Fryer, Roland G., et al. Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011,

Garrett, Brandon. Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong. Harvard University Press, 2011.

Gates, Henry Louis. Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow. Penguin Press, 2019.

Gibbs, Jewelle Taylor, and Teiahsha Bankhead. Preserving Privilege: California Politics, Propositions, and People of Color. Praeger, 2001.

Gilliom, John. Overseers of the Poor: Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of Privacy. University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. Golden Gulag Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007.

Giroux, Henry A. America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth. Monthly Review Press, 2013.

Glaser, Jack. Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Gottesdiener, Laura. A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home. Zuccotti Park Press, 2013.

Gottschalk, Marie. Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Greenbaum, Susan D. Blaming the Poor: The Long Shadow of the Moynihan Report on Cruel Images about Poverty. Rutgers University Press, 2015.

Griffith, Joanne, editor. Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America. City Lights Books, 2012.

Hacker, Andrew. Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal. Expanded and updated, Ballantine Books, 1995.

Harcourt, Bernard E. Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age. University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Harris, Fredrick C., and Robert C. Lieberman, editors. Beyond Discrimination: Racial Inequality in a Postracist Era. Russell Sage Foundation, 2013.

Harvard, Law School, et al. Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities. Edited by Charles J. Ogletree, Northeastern University Press, 1995.

Hattery, Angela. Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives Are Surveilled and How to Work for Change. Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Haynes, Bruces. The Ghetto: Contemporary Global Issues and Controversies. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press. 2012.

Heller, Agnes, et al., editors. Biopolitics: The Politics of the Body, Race and Nature. Avebury ; Ashgate, 1996.

Heumann, Milton, and Lance Cassak. Good Cop, Bad Cop: Racial Profiling and Competing Views of Justice. P. Lang, 2003.

Higginbotham, F. Michael. Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America. New York University Press, 2013.

Holland, Sharon Patricia. The Erotic Life of Racism. Duke University Press, 2012.

Honey, Michael K. To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice. First edition., WWNorton & Company, 2018.

Iceland, John. A Portrait of America: The Demographic Perspective. University of California Press, 2014,

James, Joy, editor. States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons. 1st ed, St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

Jargowsky, Paul A. Poverty and Place: Ghettos, Barrios, and the American City. Russell Sage Foundation, 1997.

Jefferson, Brian Jordan author. Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization in the Digital Age. University of Minnesota Press, 2020,

Jung, Moon-Kie. Beneath the Surface of White Supremacy: Denaturalizing U.S. Racisms Past and Present. Stanford University Press, 2015.

Kim, Claire Jean. Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Lang, Clarence. Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics. University of Michigan Press, 2015.

Larson, Erik, and Patrick D. Schmidt, editors. The Law and Society Reader II. New York University Press, 2014.

Laurent, Sylvie. King and the Other America: The Poor People’s Campaign and the Quest for Economic Equality. University of California Press, 2018.

Lebron, Christopher J. The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics. Twentieth anniversary edition., Temple University Press, 2018.

Lubiano, Wahneema H., editor. The House That Race Built: Black Americans, U.S. Terrain. 1st ed, Pantheon Books, 1997.

Mac Donald, Heather. Are Cops Racist? I.R. Dee, 2003.

Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Harvard University Press, 1993.

Massey, Douglas S., and Sage Foundation Russell. Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. Russell Sage Foundation, 2007.

McIlwain, Charlton D.. Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter. Oxford University Press, 2020.

McVeigh, Rory. The Politics of Losing: Trump, the Klan, and the Mainstreaming of Resentment. Columbia University Press, 2019.

Mead, Lawrence M., editor. The New Paternalism: Supervisory Approaches to Poverty. Brookings Institution Press, 1997.

Meeks, Kenneth. Driving While Black: Highways, Shopping Malls, Taxicabs, Sidewalks: How to Fight Back If You Are a Victim of Racial Profiling. 1st ed, Broadway, 2000.

Michael, Ali, and Shaun R. Harper. Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education. Teacher College Press, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, 2015.

Mirandé, Alfredo. Gringo Justice. University of Notre Dame Press, 1987.

Morrison, Melanie. Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham. Duke University Press, 2018.

Muñiz, Ana. Police, Power, and the Production of Racial Boundaries. Rutgers University Press, 2015.

Murakawa, Naomi. The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Nelson, Jill, editor. Police Brutality: An Anthology. 1st ed, W.W. Norton & Co, 2000.

Norwood, Kimberly Jade, editor. Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Post-Racial America. Routledge, 2014.

Ortiz, Paul. An African American and Latinx History of the United States. Beacon Press, 2018,

Pager, Devah. Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration. University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Parenti, Christian. Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. Verso, 1999.

Parks, Gregory, and Matthew W. Hughey, editors. 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today. New Press, 2010.

Peffley, Mark, and Jon Hurwitz. Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Ralph, Laurence. The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence. The University of Chicago Press, 2020.

Reskin, Barbara. “The Race Discrimination System.” Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 38, no. 1, 2012, pp. 17–35, doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071811-145508.

Robinson, Cedric J. On Racial Capitalism, Black Internationalism, and Cultures of Resistance. Pluto Press, 2019.

Rohrer, Judy. Queering the Biopolitics of Citizenship in the Age of Obama. First edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Roithmayr, Daria. Reproducing Racism: How Everyday Choices Lock in White Advantage. New York University Press, 2014.

Rothenberg, Paula S., and Kelly S. Mayhew, editors. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study. Ninth edition, Worth Publishers, 2014.

Russell-Brown, Katheryn. The Color of Crime: Racial Hoaxes, White Fear, Black Protectionism, Police Harassment, and Other Macroaggressions. New York University Press, 1998.

Russell-Brown, Katheryn. Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires. New York University Press, 2004.

Ryde, Judy. White Privilege Unmasked: How to Be Part of the Solution. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Philippe I. Bourgois, editors. Violence in War and Peace. Blackwell Pub, 2004.

Schmidt, Christopher W.. The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era. The University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Seigel, Micol. Violence Work: State Power and the Limits of Police. Duke University Press, 2018.

Shange, Savannah author. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, + Schooling in San Francisco. Duke University Press, 2019.

Shellow, Robert Scott editor, et al. The Harvest of American Racism: The Political Meaning of Violence in the Summer of 1967. University of Michigan Press, 2018.

Smith, Neil. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. Routledge, 1996.

Solomon, Akiba, and Kenrya Rankin. How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance. First edition., Bold Type Books, 2019.

Steele, Shelby. Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. Basic Books. 2015.

Sullivan, Shannon. White Privilege. Polity Press, 2019.

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From #blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation. Haymarket Books, 2016.

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership. University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

Theoharis, Jeanne. A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. Beacon Press, 2018.

Thompson-Miller, Ruth, et al. Jim Crow’s Legacy: The Lasting Impact of Segregation. Rowman and Littlefield, 2015.

Tillotson, Michael. Invisible Jim Crow: Contemporary Ideological Threats to the Internal Security of African Americans. Africa World Press, 2011.

Tonry, Michael H. Malign Neglect–Race, Crime, and Punishment in America. Oxford University Press, 1995.

United, States. Collateral Consequences: Hearing before the Over-Criminalization Task Force of 2014 of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, Second Session, June 26, 2014. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2014.

Vargas, João Helion Costa. The Denial of Antiblackness: Multiracial Redemption and Black Suffering. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

Vitale, Alex S. The End of Policing. Verso, 2017.

Wacquant, Loic JD, and William Julius Wilson. “The Cost of Racial and Class Exclusion in the Inner City.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 501, no. 1, 1989, pp. 8–25, doi:

Watson, Elwood author. Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America. Intellect Books, 2019.

Weitzer, Ronald John, and Steven A. Tuch. Race and Policing in America: Conflict and Reform. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

West, Cornell. “The Fire of a New Generation.” Opinionator, Accessed 24 Aug. 2015.

Whitlock, Kay, and Michael Bronski. Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics. Beacon Press, 2015.

Williams, Juan. What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?: Trump’s War on Civil Rights. First edition., PublicAffairs, 2018.

Wilson, William J. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Wilson, William J. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. 1st ed, Knopf : Distributed by Random House, Inc, 1996.

Winant, Howard. “Race and Race Theory.” Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 26, no. 1, 2000, pp. 169–85, doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.169.

Woods, Tryon P. Blackhood against the Police Power: Punishment and Disavowal in the “Post-Racial” Era. Michigan State University Press, 2019.

Yancy, George editor. White Self-Criticality beyond Anti-Racism: How Does It Feel to Be a White Problem? Lexington Books, 2015.

Yancy, George. editor. Reframing the Practice of Philosophy: Bodies of Color, Bodies of Knowledge. State University of New York Press, 2012.

Yancy, George. Look, a White!: Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Temple University Press, 2012.