“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Harriet Tubman

To empower Black communities, we must teach them history.
Educate, Organize, Mobilize
GDN’s Books of Knowledge is an empowering education initiative, detailing 400-years of the Black experience in America.  Watch videos, read reviews and share teaching material about the historical struggle for civil rights.

A suggested reading priority of books & reviews has been developed for your convenience.

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The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

By Richard Rothstein
The laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. There is no better history of this troubled journey than “The Color of Law.”

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Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero

Author Cate Lineberry
It was a mild May morning in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, when a twenty-three-year-old enslaved man named Robert Smalls boldly seized a Confederate steamer.

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A Colony in a Nation

America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first “law and order” president.

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This Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement

At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument …

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Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment

A comprehensive, readable analysis of the key issues of the Black Lives Matter movement, this thought-provoking

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In “Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” Attorney Paul Butler Takes on Police Brutality

Police brutality in the Black community is as old as law enforcement itself. Former federal prosecutor

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Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond

“A worthy and necessary addition to the contemporary canon of civil rights literature.” —The New York

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Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War

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Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate.

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Book Feature: False Black Power?

Black civil rights leaders have long supported ethnic identity politics and prioritized the integration of political

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On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City

Alice Goffman spent six years in one Philadelphia neighborhood, documenting the routine stops, searches, raids, and

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Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination

Overview The author of Baldwin’s Harlem looks at the evolving culture, politics, economics, and spiritual life

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