READ / VIEW      PRAY        SHARE

“What can I do?”  “I feel so helpless!”  These are common thoughts of many of us who are not in essential services in the midst of three crises: COVID-19; Unveiling of Systemic Racism; and Economic Uncertainty.

At our recent Loyola staff meeting we zeroed in on Racism.  We compiled a list of books, adding brief descriptions (see below).  In addition to the reading list we have included some online movies and documentaries.  Our plan for ourselves and encouragement for you is threefold:

READ / VIEW – to inform ourselves about racial injustice that is a deep and festering wound in our society.

PRAY – prayerful reading is a spiritual practice that invites us to pause in our reading to deepen our understanding and open our hearts.

SHARE – this is the movement to action – Share this list with at least one other and together choose a book to read.  That other could be a family member, a friend, your book club – or a new group you start just for this purpose!

Together we can be a part of dismantling racism!


  • 12 Years a Slave
  • 13th
  • Harriet
  • The Hate U Give
  • Jim Crow of the North – TPT documentary
  • Just Mercy
  • The New Jim Crow
  • Selma
  • Black Lives Matter recommended viewing list on Netflix


Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015  A non-fiction book written as a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States.

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison, 1970  A novel – the story of a young African-American girl growing up during the years following the great depression.

Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race and Being – M. Shawn Copeland, 2009  We have much to learn from the embodied experience of black women who, for centuries, have born in their bodies the identities and pathologies of those in power.

Evicted – Matthew Desmond, 2016  A non-fiction book about housing insecurity written after the author lived in the poorest areas of Milwaukee following eight families struggling to pay rent during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 -some white – some people of color.

A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota – Edited by Sun Yung Shin, 2016  Essays by 16 people of color who live in Minnesota. Offers perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in one of the whitest states in the nation.

The Grace of Silence – Michelle Norris, 2010  A personal memoir by Michelle Norris the co-host of National Public Radio’s flagship program, All Things Considered. Growing up Black in Minneapolis, Norris Digs into her family’s past and discovers painful secrets. Rated one of the best books of the year by San Francisco Chronicle the Christian Science Monitor and the Kansas City Star, 2010.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas, 2017  An important and timely novel that reflects the world today’s teens inhabit – a thought provoking drama about race and activism. Made into a movie 2018.

Hope in the Struggle – Josie Johnson with Carolyn Lee Holbrook and Arieta Marie Little, 2019  This book, a lifetime in the making, is Josie Johnson’s answer – a memoir about shouldering the cause of social justice during the darkest hours and brightest moments for civil rights in America and specifically in Minnesota. For Josie Johnson, this has meant making a difference as a black woman in one of the nation’s whitest states.

How to be an Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi, 2019  The author’s concept of anti-racism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America. He argues that every single person can take steps to dismantle racism.

The Hemingses of Monticello – Annette Gordon-Reed, 2008  Recounts the history Of the African- American Hemings family from their origins until the 1826 death of Thomas Jefferson, their master and the father of Sally Hemings’ children.

A Mercy – Toni Morrison, 2009  A mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent disturbing story of a mother and a daughter – a mother who cast off her daughter in order to save her and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.

My Grandmother’s Hands – Resmaa Menakem, 2017  A gripping journey through the labyrinth of trauma and its effects on modern life especially for African-Americans. Examines white body supremacy in America from the perspective of trauma and body centered psychology.

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander, 2010  An account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States that has resulted in millions of African-Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to permanent second-class status. The book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller for more than a year and dubbed the “secular Bible of a new social movement.”

Racial Justice and the Catholic Church – Bryan N. Massingale, 2010  Examines the presence of racism in America from early history through the civil rights movement and the election of Barack Obama. Explores how Catholic social teaching has been used – and not used – to promote reconciliation and justice.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace – Jeff Hobbs, 2014  A biography about an intellectually brilliant young African-American man, Robert DeShaun Peace, who left Newark, New Jersey to attend Yale University, but fell back into the streets when he returned to Newark and was murdered, aged 30 “facedown, knees bent, in a drug related murder,”

Stamped From the Beginning – Ibram Kendi, 2017  The definitive history of racist ideas in America; a nonfiction book about race in the United States that won the national book award for non-fiction. The title of the book is drawn from a speech by Senator Jefferson Davis in 1860, who announced that the “inequality of the white and black races was “stamped from the beginning”

Stand your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God – Kelly  Brown Douglas, 2015  The 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager in Florida, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, brought public attention to controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Sula – Toni Morrison, 1973  This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their closest childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to the ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Waking up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race – Debby Irving, 2014  The author shares her own journey traveling from color blindness to color consciousness. With self-reflective questions posed at the end of each chapter you will be engaged in your own identity-based reflection. This is a good book group choice.

The Warmth of other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson, 2010  A historical study of the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life, beautifully written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

White Fragility: Why It’So Hard for White People to talk About Racism – Robin D’Angelo, 2018  Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. The author examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

White like Me : Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son – Tim Wise, 2004  The authors personal account examining white privilege and his conception of racism in American society through his experiences with his family and in his community.