This year, 381 people have been killed by police officers in America. And despite making up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than their white counterparts, according to a study by the Washington Post.
While many would agree that those numbers reveal gross inequality and a lack of regard for African-Americans, the Black Lives Matter movement still continues to divide many parts of America. Inspired by the rounds of recent protests surrounding the tragic murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the police officers in Dallas, Texas, we’ve compiled a reading list of six books that will help you understand why the movement is so important.
"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin
Baldwin’s indictment of America and its racial divisions rings just as true today as it did when it was first published in 1963 and became a best seller shortly afterward: “If we — and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others — do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction and a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, Coates’ memoir is a touching letter to his son — one in which he grapples with what it means to be black in America, unpacking America’s history of racial violence in the process.