United Church of Christ

Annotated Bibliography of Racial Justice Resources

For a Printable PDF version of this page, CLICK HERE


Baldwin, James. The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948 – 1985.  St. Martin's, 1985.

A compendium of nearly 50 years of Baldwin's profound and prophetic essays that combine autobiography and social analysis to create an intellectual history of the twentieth century black American experience.

Barndt, Joseph. Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-First Century Challenge to White America. Fortress Press: 2007.

Traces the history of racism, revealing its personal, institutional, and cultural forms and offering specific ways in which people in all walks, including churches, can work to bring racism to an end. Includes analytical charts, definitions, bibliography, and exercises for readers.

Branding, Ronice. Fulfilling the Dream: Confronting the Challenge of Racism. Chalice Press: 1998.

Weaving the theological with the practical, this book offers strategies in "chewable bites" that can be accomplished at the individual and congregational levels. Each chapter contains reflection questions, making this book a helpful study guide for congregations. The appendices offer specific suggestions for action in six areas: Church Leadership, Worship, Church Context and Communication, Stewardship, Christian Education, and Engagement With the Community.

Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. Henry Holt: 1976.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions from the Dakota, Utes, Sioux, and Cheyenne tribes, Brown documents the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Bulkin, Elly, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and Barbara Smith.  Yours in the Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism.  Long Haul Press, 1984.

Thought-provoking personal essays that examine the political reality of racism and anti-semitism from the perspectives of three activists from widely-differing backgrounds and identities who share mutual respect for each other's work.

Butler, Lee H.  Black Church,  Black Theology, and the Politics of Religion in America: A Reflection on the Theology-Race Controversy. The Center for the Study of Black Faith & Life, Chicago Theological Seminary: 2008.

Dr. Butler examines the mis-perceptions and misinformation that informed and influenced the controversy surrounding Dr. Jeremiah Wright and his ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago during Senator Barack Obama's campaign for President. Dr. Butler invites the readers to move beyond sound bites to explore the historical and theological context of Dr. Wright's 36 years of ministry at Trinity.  

Canon, Katie and Carter Heyward. Alienation and Anger: A Black and a White Woman's Struggle for Mutuality in an Unjust World. The Stone Center, Wellesley College, 1992.

In the form of letters exchanged over nine years, Katie Cannon, an African-American womanist ethicist, and Carter Heyward, a white feminist theologian,  examine their ongoing effort to build a mutually empowering and authentic friendship despite the devastating effects of racism.

Chiawei O'Hearn, Claudine, ed. Half and Half: Writers on Growing Up Biracial and Bicultural. Pantheon Books, 1998.

Seventeen first-person accounts by authors with biracial or bicultural backgrounds who grew up in the U.S. or emigrated to this country.

Chicago Metropolitan Association, Illinois Conference United Church of Christ. The Church, Reparations, and Justice: Moving From Silence to Action – A Study and Discussion Guide. 2003.

During the 20th century, reparations were granted to the State of Israel by the German government for the holocaust, to the Maori people of New Zealand by the United Kingdom, and to Japanese Americans by the United States government. No reparations, however, have been made to African Americans for the centuries of slavery they endured. This study guide seeks to establish dialogue within churches regarding moral, historical, 

Cone, James. Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology of Liberation, 1968–1998. Beacon Press, 1998.

A collection of Dr. Cone's most influential essays in which he critiques the ways that "White theology" has, for centuries, focused attention on the abstract "problem of evil" while never acknowledging the concrete historical evil of white racism.

Davis, Angela. Women, Race, and Class. Random House, 1983.

An examination of the suffrage and women's movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. Davis explores the intimate connection between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women's suffrage and explores how the racist and classist bias of some in the women's movement divided its own membership.

Davies, Susan and Sister Paul Teresa Hennessee, ed. Ending Racism in the Church. Pilgrim Press, 1998.

Seventeen essays call church members to recognize the sin of racism. Each of the four sections begins with a case study profiling a church or community agency that is working to end racism, followed by chapters from scholars and practitioners who describe the subtle ways in which racism undermines the gospel's thrust. Every essay is followed by study questions, and there is an Appendix: " A Guide to Address Racism."

Denouncing Racism: A Resource Guide of Faith-Based Principles. The National Conference for Community and Justice, 2002. Free download from:

A compilation of faith and spiritually based principles, Denouncing Racism addresses how the concept of being actively anti-racist is documented in the spiritual practices and policies of most faith traditions.

Douglas, Frederick and Harriet Jacobs.  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  Modern Library, 2000.

Douglas's Narrative,  first published in 1845, is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery. Harriet Jacobs'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 broke the silence about the exploitation of African American female slaves.

Even the Stones Will Cry Out for Justice: An Adult Forum on Institutionalized Racism. Augsburg Fortress, 1999.

A powerful resource for congregations who want to embrace people of all races, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. Provides biblical illustratins of how racism separates us from what God calls us to be; challenges and stimulates with questions, vignettes, and discussion topics; and encourages change as members challenge the obstacles racism presents. Contains everything leaders need to conduct a three or five session Bible study or one-day retreat.

Gill, LaVerne McCain.  A History of the Origins of African American Sacred Music. Available online: http://www.hvcn.org/info/websterucc/GillOrigins.pdf

Through the lens of African American sacred music, Rev. Gill examines the values that emerged from the evolution of the family in the African American Christian tradition. She shows how the Christian family served sustained African Americans during the centuries of shattered families caused by slavery. Rev. Hill also explores how African Americans transplanted remnants of their African spirituality into a new American soil, thereby creating a new branch of the Christian tree.

Gill, LaVerne McCain. Vashti's Victory: And Other Biblical Women Resisting Injustice. Pilgrim Press, 2003.

Gill uses what she terms the Justice Reading Strategy as a framework for discerning the movement of God and the will of God in the biblical narrative. Her womanist theological method explores issues of patriarchy, gender, race and class for women in the biblical texts, as well as women in our own society and recent history.

Goodman, Diane. Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People from Privileged Groups.  Sage Publications, 2001.

Provides theory, perspectives, and strategies that are useful for working with adults on social justice issues and conflict situations. The first part of the book helps educators understand the reasons for resistance and ways to prevent it. The second part explains how educators motivate dominant groups to support social justice.

Griffin, Paul. Seeds of Racism in the Soul of America. Source Books, 2000.

An historical analysis of racism in America that examines the subtle, insidious discrimination practiced by those who purport to be broad-minded and enlightened. By tracing the seeds of racism from the New England Puritans to today's white liberals and feminists, Griffin examines how racism was implanted in this nation's founding and continues to bear bitter fruit to this day.

Harding, Vincent. There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.

Beginning with mutinies on the slave ships, Harding traces the resistance of African slaves in the New World that was fed by fierce pride and unshakeable hope. Harding writes about well-known leaders of the abolition movement such as Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman and also of the anonymous men and women whose resistance to slavery helped bring it to an end.

Harjo, Joy. A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales. Norton, 2000.

Joy Harjo is a Native American poet and storyteller who melds memories, dream visions, myths, and stories from America's brutal history into a poetic whole. Weaving together myth, stories,  and other sources of cultural memory, Harjo explores the complexities of identity of a people still haunted by their violently disrupted past.

Harvey Jennifer et al, eds.  Disrupting White Supremacy From Within: White People on What We Need To Do.  Pilgrim Press, 2004.

The contributors to this anthology are white theologians, ethicists, teachers, ministers, and activists. They examine the nature of race, racism, and white supremacy, acknowledging its devastating effects on people of color and exploring ways to disrupt and dismantle it.

Hitchcock, Jeff. Lifting the White Veil: An Exploration of White American Culture in a Multiracial Context.  Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books, 2002.

Hitchcock seeks to help white people understand and explore what it means to be white in America. Drawing upon scholarship from a wide range of disciplines, the author shows why it is crucial to understand white culture if we hope to move to a truly multicultural society.

Holbrook, Sheryl Kujawa. A House of Prayer for All People.  The Alban Institute: 2003.

Focusing on six congregations from different denominations, geographical regions, and settings, the author shows us the joys and struggles in their intentional pursuits of a more diverse and just community. The stories that frame this books will inspire leaders to examine their congregation's history, study their community's demographics, and explore ways they can strengthen the diversity in their midst.

Hollyday, Joyce. On the Heels of Freedom: The American Missionary Association's Bold Campaign to Educate Minds, Open Hearts, and Heal the Soul of a Divided Nation.  Crossroad Publishing Company, 2005. 

This saga about our United Church of Christ forebears opens with the mutiny of captured Africans on the Amistad in 1839, follows the path of missionaries who risked their lives to establish schools among emancipated slaves in the South, and culminates with the testimonies of descendants of those who were freed.

Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream. Online report documented and written by the ADL (Anti-Defamation League). http://www.adl.org/civil_rights/anti_immigrant/default.asp

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) documents the virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic rhetoric employed by a handful of groups that have positioned themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against illegal immigration in America.

Johnson, Allan G. Privilege, Power, and Difference.  2nd Edition. Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001.

This very readable book helps readers understand the concepts of privilege and oppression, as well as their own relationship to both, in ways that move them beyond guilt. The author has the gift of presenting complex issues in a language that is accessible to a broad range of readers.

Kendall, Francis. Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race.   Routledge, 2006.

Delves into the complex interplay between race, power, and privilege in both organizations and private life. The author demonstrates how ignorance can perpetuate racism and she offers practical insights into ways that people of all races can work to dismantle racism.

Kivel, Paul. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. New Society Publishers, 2002.

A book written to help white people understand the dynamics of racism in society, institutions, and daily life. It shares stories, suggestions, advice, exercises, and approaches for working with people of color and other white allies to confront racism.

Law, Eric C. F.  Inclusion: Making Room for Grace.  Chalice Press: 2000.

In this resource for ministers and lay leaders, Law provides models, theories, and strategies that are both practical and theologically sound for moving faith communities toward greater inclusion.

Law, Eric C. F.  Sacred Acts, Holy Change: Faithful Diversity and Practical Transformation.. Chalice Press: 2002.

Eric Law offers practical guidelines for change and transformation. Sacred Acts applies the techniques and theories from his previous three books to spell out the processes for achieving genuine transformation.

Lepore, Jill.  The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Formation of American Identity. Vintage: 1999.

The author describes the tumultuous encounters between English settlers and Native Americans in New England, the wars that followed, and the theology used by European Americans to justify conquest.

Living the Faith: A Guide for Strengthening Multicultural Relationships. Augsberg Fortress, 2000.

A compilation of stories, advice, and reflections for individuals and congregations who seek to  create and nurture multicultural relationships. Presented in five sections, it is particularly well suited for adult forums or other groups that meet regularly. Includes exercises that sheds light on the ways our faith in Christ can be the foundation for developing and strengthening relationships across cultural differences.

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider. The Crossing Press, 1984.

Presenting the essential essays and speeches of the late African American poet, writer, and activist Audre Lorde.  She critically examines how systems of oppression and privilege intersect and reinforce one another and she challenges the notion that there is a hierarchy of oppression.

Marable, Manning and Leith Mullings, eds. Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices on Resistance, Reform, and Renewal An African American Anthology. Rowman and Littlefield: 2000.

A collection of essential social and political writings by African American leaders that spans three centuries. The editors show how the themes of reform, resistance, and renewal have sustained the black freedom struggle. 

McIntosh, Peggy. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies," Working Paper No. 189, Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02181.

Considered a groundbreaking essay by a white educator that brought the reality of white privilege into discussions of race, gender, and sexuality.  McIntosh provides a "white privilege checklist" that gives tangible, practical examples of how white privilege is present in the day-to-day experience of white people.

McIntosh, Peggy.  White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. This article can be found online: http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

This essay is a shorter version of the essay described above.

Olsson, Joan. Detour Spotting for White Anti-racists.  Pamphlet available c/o cultural bridges. Email: cbjona@kitcarson.net. The pamphlet can also be found online: http://www.sverigemotrasism.nu/upload/4494/DETOUR%20spotting%20Reality%20checks.pdf

The author describes how white people internalize behaviors and attitudes from a very early age that reinforce racism. To unlearn these habitual patterns, white people from first recognize them. This essay gives practical help in doing just that.

Reid, Katherine Goering and Steven Beck Reid. Uncovering Racism. Brethren Press, 1999.

This study points out inherently racist systems, structures, and attitudes within the church and the wider society. It includes ten Bible study lessons, suggestions for sharing and prayer, and music to help congregations study the implications of racism and explore ways to take action. Each Bible study could be used on its own or an in-depth study could be undertaken utilizing all the material.

Segrest, Mab. Memoir of a Race Traitor.  South End Press, 1994.

Autobiographical account of a southern white woman, born in the 1940s to a conservative and influential Alabama family, who comes to consciousness about racism and works to expose the Klan by serving on the staff of North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence.

Steps Toward Wholeness: Learning and Repentance. Prepared by Caroline Henninger Oehler. The General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, 2000. Free download from www.gccuic-umc.org/web/webpdf/studyguide.pdf.

Developed as preparation for the 200 General Assemble of the United Methodist Church, this resource contains materials and guidelines for six sessions lasting from 45 minutes to 2 hours each. Each sessions starts with a worship sequence, explore personal and institutional racism, and ends with prayer.

Takaki, Ronald.  A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America.  Back Bay Books, Little Brown: 1993.

Takaki begins with the "discovery" of America and proceeds through World War II, devoting chapters of each section to the different experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, Chicanos, Jews, Chinese Americans, and Japanese Americans. Each chapter discusses the divergent historical and cultural experiences as well as the shared experiences of these different groups.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel.  "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?"   Basic Books, 1997.

Explores why it remains so difficult for Americans to talk about race. Tatum, who is President of Spellman College, is nationally known for her groundbreaking work in racial identity development and helping educators find ways to break the silence surrounding race and racism.

Thandeka. Learning To Be White. Continuum, 2002.

Starting from the premise that no one is born "white" in America, Thandeka describes how European Americans learn to take on this identity, often at a very early age. She explores the critical link between racist acts and shame.

Tinker, George E. Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide.
Fortress Press: 1993.

The author is a member of the Osage/Cherokee people and faculty at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Highlighting the lives of four missionaries, Tinker shows that as they were trying to spread the gospel message and do good works among the Native American peoples, these missionaries were participants in their wider culture's ambitions against the indigenous peoples.

Tinker, George E. Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation. Fortress Press: 2004.

Writing from a Native American perspective, theologian George Tinker probes American Indian culture, its vast religious and cultural legacy, and its ambiguous relationship to the tradition –  historic Christianity – that colonized and converted it.                                                            

Wise, Tim. White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.  Soft Skull Press: 2005.

An autobiographical examination of the ways in which racial privilege shapes the lives of most white Americans, overtly racist or not, to the detriment of people of color, themselves, and society. In addition to critically assessing the magnitude of racial privilege, Wise provides stories that illustrate how white people can become allies in the struggle for racial justice.