In Blog: Factually Speaking, Uncategorized

Over the last few evenings I’ve noticed the sun sinking down a bit earlier, a sure sign that autumn is near. But there’s still over a month of summer left…which in my world means there’s still plenty of light to read by.

In my days as a high school English teacher, one of my greatest joys was hearing students recommend books to one another to read over vacation. They’d discover not only common reading interests, but common values and beliefs. Books truly do have the power to build relationships and strengthen commitments. That’s why we decided to see what our friends and followers enjoyed reading—we specifically asked for books that explore the kinds of social justice issues we work on here at the League. My heart leaped when our Facebook followers shared dozens of titles we could dig into over the next few weeks.

Here’s a partial list for your end-of-summer book binge. You can find all the recommendations here.* Have a book you’d like to add? Leave us a comment!

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond | This book provides a vivid and wrenching look into the lives of eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle with housing issues. Several folks recommended this read, and our partners at ACCESS chose it as their book club selection this summer.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein| In an exploration of the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state and federal governments, Rothstein traces the history of racist segregation in America.

White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo | Recommended by several of our Facebook followers, this book addresses the behaviors among White people that protect racial inequality and prevent meaningful cross-racial dialogue. DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops and also provides thoughtful insights on how people can engage more constructively.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon | This personal story reflects on abuse and trauma as well as the state of  American society.

Just Mercy: A Story of Jutice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson | Written by the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, this book provides an account of our broken criminal justice system by following the story of a man who was sentenced to die for a murder he insisted he did not commit.

Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America by Peter Edelman | By shining a light on policies, fees, fines and regulations that unfairly target Americans who are homeless and have low incomes, this book provides a complete look at systems that seal entire communities into poverty.

We hope you seek out some books that will feed your soul, your heart and your mind this month. There’s still plenty of daylight left.

*The books included on this list have been recommended by our Facebook followers. They do not necessarily have the League’s endorsement.

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    Natasha Beck

    Thanks,Laura. Have heard good things about #s 1,2,3,and 6 on this list.

    Currently reading,and recommend,Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age,and Whose Detroit? Politics,Labor,and Race in a Modern American City by Heather Ann Thompson. McAlevey’s academic credentials are informed by her many years as a community and union organizer. The latter book mentions Schoolcraft Gardens,a well-organized attempt at building in central city Detroit during the McCarthy era,a racially and religiously integrated housing community. It was derailed by a group of white citizens opposed to integrated housing,and vetoed by then-mayor Jerome Cavanaugh. My parents,Eunice and Maury Beck,were involved in the planning. But the failure of Schoolcraft Gardens ended up being the League’s gain,as our family left Detroit for the Lansing area in 1955.

    • Laura Millard Ross
      Laura Millard Ross

      Thank you for your input, Natasha! Your parents are indeed legends here at the League! We’ll definitely check out these books.

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