Social justice literature is an integral part of the social justice movement, inspiring generations of changemakers. These books provide avenues for change, by offering suggestions and ideas for how to fix some of our most pressing problems.
We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice.
- Cornel West
The Fire This TimeBy Jesmyn Ward
An incendiary collection of some of the most brilliant Black authors grappling with the history of racism in America, along with the most modern incarnations — police brutality, disenfranchisement, media manipulation, and cultural appropriation.
A People’s History of the United StatesBy Howard Zinn
American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace.
The Bluest EyeBy Toni Morrison
An 11-year-old Black girl, in an America whose love for its blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—prays for her eyes to turn blue. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
The New Jim CrowBy Michelle Alexander
This book spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander’s unforgettable argument that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
If I Was Your GirlBy Meredith Russo
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
We Need New NamesBy NoViolet Bulawayo
Darling was only ten years old when her home was destroyed by paramilitary policemen. But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America.
EvictedBy Matthew Desmond
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
Of Women and SaltBy Gabriela Garcia
A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born.
We Too Sing AmericaBy Deepa Iyer
This compelling analysis of national insecurity, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment provides a clear focus on successful strategies for change.
The Underground RailroadBy Colson Whitehead
In Colson Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
Crip TheoryBy Robert McRuer
This well-annotated text invites the uninitiated reader to become involved, reimagine previously held conceptions of what may be considered ‘otherness,’ welcome disabilities, and collectively access other worlds and future possibilities.
Just UsBy Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history.