Race Relations: Historical Resources

In light of current events, we would like to remind you that the Abbot Public Library offers a multitude of resources with current, reliable, regularly updated information, which is easily accessible and available at any time.

Salem Press (introduced in a previous post) is the latest acquired reference database, with a very large history section, where you can search for particular events or names, or just browse through American history, decade by decade, learning about critical events and influential people.

You can browse through another section, Milestones Documents of American History, to get a better understanding of the most important documents and primary sources.

In addition to browsing and searching, Salem Press offers curated content to explore current events, which is a unique feature of this database. 

To help explore and better understand current events, you can browse through selected essays on several subjects, which are, presently: race relations, social justice, violent demonstration, civil disobedience, and others.

EBSCO History Reference Center, a database which you will find listed under the EBSCOhost, offers full text from reference books, encyclopedia, leading history periodicals, and biographies. The database also has historical photos and maps, as well as archival videos to offer.

Gale Biography is a well-organized database, where you can browse or search for biographies of influential people of their time. 

All these digital databases are free and accessible with your library card through the Digital Resources page on the library blog.

The New York Times published a list of the most influential books on race and the black experience, created by Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history at the University of Florida and a published author. Here are some of the titles mentioned in that NYT list:

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi won the national Book Award. In his deeply researched book, the author gives an account of the history of racist ideas and thoughts and shows their power through the course of American history.

The New Jim Crow was named the most influential book of the last decade and collected numerous awards, inspiring criminal justice reform activists and organizations. Its tenth anniversary edition was reprinted recently.

Dreams from My Father, published in 1995, is a memoir by Barack Obama that looks at the problem of race, class, and color.

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award; it is also on the PBS Great American Read Top 100 list.

Beloved by Toni Morrison also won the Pulitzer and was adapted as a movie with the same title.

You can also check out the following titles from the list (click the cover image):

The ebook format
The audiobook format

All these ebooks and audiobooks are available through Overdrive/Libby with your card.

Identity, Community, and Struggle: Books For Kids On Big Issues

Race relations and protests are difficult topics to explain to children. Books detailing the momentous events of the 1960s can be the vehicle to help those discussions. The following award-winning books use historical background and distinctive viewpoints to aid understanding of significant events and news. Here are four children’s books at different reading levels that explore identity, racism, protest, and justice.

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, an audiobook for ages 5-9

A fence divides both racial sides of an unnamed small town. Both girls, Clover and Annie, wonder about this and take the halting steps towards friendship despite adult rules. The story ends with both girls and their friends sitting on the top of the fence together. A moving and thoughtful story of children making choices and changes.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, historical fiction for ages 10+

Three sisters are sent from their Brooklyn home with their grandmother to spend a month with their estranged mother in 1968 Oakland. During that month, their mother places them in a Black Panther day camp, and the girls absorb ideas of identity, black community, and revolution in their distinctly individual ways. The themes of the times are quietly explored, as well as family issues. 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis, historical fiction for ages 10+

This book is both funny when describing the sibling antics in the loving Watson family, and very serious and moving about the infamous church bombing that they encounter in Birmingham on a visit to their grandmother. Told from the viewpoint of 10-year-old brother Kenny, the family journey brings sudden hatred and violence in juxtaposition to family dynamics.

Let the Children March written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a historical fiction picture book for ages 6+

The inspiring and shivery events of the Children’s Crusade of 1963 are described through the eyes of two siblings who participate in this moving story of resistance and courage. Children had volunteered to march in protest against segregation laws in the south, and were then arrested and jailed. This story brings out the fear and hatred they encounter, and the effects that their march had in the broader Civil Rights Movement.