Social Justice



A letter from Michelle Sampson, York Public Library Executive Director regarding Social Justice and Black Lives Matter.


There are endless resources on racial and social justice, so consider this page a starting point. We encourage you to continue your own research and discover the many books, audiobooks, podcasts, documentaries, and more on this important field of study. Here are a few we recommend.

Suggested Reading 

Antiracist Reading List from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 
List compiled by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, 
professor and the director of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist. Many works featured in this list are available at York Public Library through Minerva, hoopla, and CloudLibrary.  See also Dr. Kendi’s Book Club Guide for How to Be an Antiracist

How to be an Antiracist
Stamped from the Beginning : The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
White Fragility : Why It
Locking Up Our Own : Crime and Punishment in Black America
Fire Next Time
Collected Essays : Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, the Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, the Devil Finds Work, Other Essays
Between the World and Me
Half Has Never Been Told : Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Warmth of Other Suns : The Epic Story of America
Me and White Supremacy : Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace & Do Good
Research from Harvard University suggests that children as young as three years old, when exposed to racism and prejudice, tend to embrace and accept it, even though they might not understand the feelings. By age 5, white children are strongly biased towards whiteness. To counter this bias, experts recommend acknowledging and naming race and racism with children as early and as often as possible. This list from was curated by children’s literature scholars and parents. They also curate several other lists for books as well as how to talk to children about race. 

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. Read more about The 1619 Project.

A Reading List on Issues of Race – Harvard Faculty Recommend the Writers and Subjects that Promote Context and Understanding 

A compiled list of reading from Harvard professors that promote context and understanding for different issues involving race.  In addition to a list, each title typically includes several paragraphs detailing why it is an important work and what issue of race it deals. 

Suggested Watching

Ava DuVernay’s 13th – a Netflix Original Documentary

Netflix offers this documentary free of charge, no Netflix subscription needed. Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards. Watch now on Youtube

Race Matters: America in Crisis, A PBS NewsHour Special 

As the United States grapples with widespread unrest after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, our fraught national relationship with race is again in the spotlight. How can we move forward from this moment? PBS NewsHour believes we should begin the conversation by listening to black Americans. For that, we turn to a variety of grassroots voices, newsmakers and thought leaders. Watch now

Explore More 

Talking about Race: a Web Portal from The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
This online portal is designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture. The online portal provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources tailored for educators, parents and caregivers—and individuals committed to racial equality.

University of Southern Maine: Getting Started with Anti-Racism at USM

This is a resource originally created for staff and students of the University of Southern Maine, but it is a comprehensive look at many excellent anti-racist podcasts, articles, videos, reading lists, and more. View it here. Be sure to also check out USM’s Diversity Resources page and their Racial Justice Challenge.