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African-Americans & the Black Experience: Structural Racism

Social Justice Reading Lists

Black Lives Matter - Is my son next?

Image of protester in Ferguson, MO with sign reading "RIP Mike Brown, No Justice, No Peace"

Attributed to Shawn Semmler via Creative Commons and Flickr


Activist Bree Newsome removing the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina state capital. Photo from

Beyonce from the Lemonade album

image from

women protesting with the black panther party


African Americans

What is Black Studies?  Episode 1.  Darius Spearman.  January 12, 2012.   In this episode, we look at the origins of a relatively new academic discipline. How did Black Studies come about and how is it distinct from other academic disciplines? Also, what are the challenges faced by scholars, academics and students of Black Studies in higher education?

Why Pursue Black Studies?  Episode 2.  Darius Spearman.  January 20, 2012.  In this episode, why pursue Black Studies? What is the significance of Black Studies in higher education? How has the Black Studies pioneered and developed theories and approaches to problems in ways that have added to academia and society as a whole? Is Black Studies solely for the consumption of Black students? Why should Asian, Latino, or White students have an interest in pursuing Black Studies?

Africa in Historical Context.   Episode 3.  Darius Spearman.  In this episode, we look at Africa in historical context and the events leading up to the Atlantic slave trade. What does an alternative context look like? We will explore rise and fall of powerful and wealthy African kingdoms as well as the fateful path they took that ultimately led to the Atlantic slave trade -the trafficking of millions of human beings from West Africa to the Americas.  Note subsequent episodes in this series are listed under the African American Online Courses and Lectures series.

Black Studies Matter : How one of the nation's biggest—and most violent—campus protests brought diversity to the rest of America. Kristina Rizga, Mother Jones, May 19, 2016

African American History Month Portal by the Library of Congress.  February is African American History Month.  The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History.

Association of Black Women Historians.

National Association for African American Studies

National Council for Black Studies

Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. The report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice draws on a wide array of historical documents, from the records of slaving voyages to personal correspondence to student commencement orations. Working in collaboration with Brown's Center for Digital Initiatives and the Scholarly Technology Group, the committee was able to create a digital archive of these materials.

Civil Rights since the 1960s

Special thanks to Erik Ponder, African American Studies Librarian at Michigan State University. Many of the links and images came from his research guide at