6 Audiobooks That Illuminate Race Relations in America

It’s without a doubt that the topics of race and equality in America are at the forefront of our conversation. With these harrowing discussions dominating the media, a first step to take in order to tackle these complex issues is to educate yourself, and a good way to do that is through books. Stories help speak to the progress around these quandaries and inspire us to create change. These six audiobooks are for anyone and everyone hoping to better understand the current state of race relations in America and beyond.

 

In the Shadow of Statues

Mitch Landrieu, the mayor who removed the Confederate statues from New Orleans last year, shares his personal journey and tackles the broader history of slavery, race, and institutional inequities that still plague America.
Listen to an excerpt IN THE SHADOW OF STATUES

We Were Eight Years in Power

In this sweeping collection of essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of America’s history of racism in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president”. This book is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
Listen to an excerpt WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER

I Can't Breathe

On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. His last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter protest movement. Matt Taibbi’s work of riveting literary journalism explores the roots and repercussions of the infamous killing of Garner.
Listen to an excerpt I CANT BREATHE

Blood at the Root

National Book Award finalist Patrick Phillips tells the tragic story of the racial cleansing that occurred in Forsyth County, Georgia, at the turn of the twentieth century. Recalling his own childhood in the 1970s and ’80s, Phillips sheds light on the communal crimes of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America.
Listen to an excerpt BLOOD AT THE ROOT

Between the World and Me

Pivoting from questions about race and American history to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. In a book Toni Morrison calls “required reading,” Coates illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a vision for a way forward.
Listen to an excerpt BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

Radical Hope

A collection of letters—to ancestors, to children, to strangers, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged—written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists. This book offers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear.

Listen to an excerpt RADICAL HOPE