540WMain’s Essential Reading List (Books You Must Read) in 2021

book collage

540WMain’s Essential Reading List (Books You Must Read) in 2021

Every year we love sharing the books that inspire our mission and programming. One of the first steps to dismantling structural racism is understanding the past and how the past affects the present. It is also important to prioritize the content of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) thought leaders as you learn about the depth and complexity of racism, how all of us are complicit (to varying degrees) in reinforcing its effects, and how you can have a role in unlearning through antiracism practice every day. So get into our essential list for reading in 2021, revisit our lists from 2019 and 2020, and let us know which books you are most excited to dive into. Oh; and be sure to read through to the end for a surprise announcement.

Books You Must Read in 2021:

  1. Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes The Mind, Body, and Spirit | Mary-Frances Winters
  2. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America | Ijeoma Olu
  3. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents | Isabel Wilkerson
  4. The Vanishing Half | Brit Benett
  5. The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love | Sonya Renee Taylor
  6. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migrations | Isabel Wilkerson
  7. Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot | Mikki Kendall
  8. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower | Brittany Cooper
  9. What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat | Aubrey Gordon
  10. Black Women, Black Love: America’s War On African American Marriage | Dianne M. Stewart
  11. Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man | Emmanuel Acho
  12. The Likely World | Melanie Conroy-Goldman
  13. The Color of Money Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap | Mehrsa Baradaran
  14. How The Word Is Passed | Clint Smith
  15. The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person | Frederick Joseph
  16. I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir | Malaka Gharib
  17. Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy | Talia Lavin
  18. The Undocumented Americans | Karla Cornejo Villavicendio
  19. The Making of Asian America: A History | Erika Lee
  20. Finding Latinx In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity | Paola Ramos
  21. The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence by Laurence Ralph 
  22. Dear White Women, It’s Not You. It’s Me. I’m Breaking Up With You by Hannah Drake
  23. Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram Kendi
  24. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir | Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
  25. Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting In America | Nefertiti Austin

book collage

And now for our announcement…
Our Unpacking Book Discussion Club is now an exclusive perk for our monthly sustaining members. We will meet 4x throughout 2021 (1x per quarter) and consider the following titles:
  1. Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes The Mind, Body, and Spirit | Mary-Frances Winters
  2. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America | Ijeoma Olu
  3. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents | Isabel Wilkerson
  4. The Vanishing Half | Brit Benett
Learn more including our meeting dates by becoming a monthly member at the listener or learner tier at patreon.com/540wmain.
About Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a virtual non-profit organization and antiracist education brand that promotes justice for all. The organization encourages individuals to broaden their horizons and learn more about multidisciplinary issues and topics that impact the world. 

Still thinking about how you can practice antiracism in your every day life? 

Your support goes directly to providing new, dynamic & affordable class content, the planning of a rigorous antiracism facilitation training program, and costs associated with making all of our classes Deaf accessible with ASL interpreters.

Become a monthly sustaining member at patreon.com/540wmain

  1. Visit our blog for over 700 social justice focused posts from our Founding Director, contributing writer Chris Thompson, and various guest writers.
  2. Check out our on-demand class library to learn about structural racism, environmental justice, and more.

Knowledge is power, educate yourself with 540WMain

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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