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Walpole Unitarian Church

Facing Racism Task Force: Resources

Please check out our forums on facing racism planned for this fall:

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Recommended by Antonia Andreolli

What it is, where to find it:

      “Stamped: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” 2016, a book by Ibram X. Kendi

Description, comments: Winner of a series of awards, is worth the time – if all you read is the passages dealing with Barack Obama.  It is a scholarly book, assuming an educated reader.

What it is, where to find it:

    “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You,” 2020, a book by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Description, comments: Early this year Kendi collaborated with Reynolds to write this version of his earlier book.  This version is designed for middle school. It is a very much quicker and easier read than the earlier book. Some may find the tone flippant or even snarky – remember the 13-year-old audience. But for everyone who has said “why didn’t I ever know?/I wasn’t taught that,” – this is a simple first read.  The “On Being” interview for Walpole Unitarian conversation on October 6 is with Jason Reynolds.

What it is, where to find it:

“Eyes on the Prize,” a 14-episode documentary series from PBS.  Also available on YouTube.  Study guide here:

Description, comments: This is Antonia’s #1 pick.  There are two separate sets of episodes covering the history of civil rights 50’s through 80’s.

What it is and where to find it:

"Just Mercy," a book by Bryan Stevenson, also a film available on Prime and YouTube

Description, comments: Combines personal narrative/stories culminating in action, which is inspiring.

What it is and where to find it:

An article in 7/9/20 Economist. “Enlightenment liberalism is losing ground in the debate about race. A new ideology is emerging,”

Description, comments: See also "The new ideology of race and what is wrong with it" in same issue. Directly relevant for Unitarian tradition.

What it is, where to find it:

“United Shades of America,” a CNN series by W. Kamal Bell

Description, comments: Kicked off July 19, first program included story of Black musician who works to redeem White racists. Over 200 so far, including godson of Medgar Evans' assassin.

What it is, where to find it:

“Documentary '13TH' Argues Mass Incarceration Is An Extension Of Slavery,” a 5 minute interview about the documentary “13th.” (See Karen Walter’s recommendations).

Description, comments: Good for Session 2.  

Recommended by Pam Blair


What it is and where to find it:

"The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America's Great Migration," a book by Isabel Wilkerson

Description, comments: You will learn about the details of the southern Jim Crow laws of the first half of the 20th century and how it affected three Black Americans’ lives and influenced a major northern and western migration. Lengthy but a very worthy read!

What it is, where to find it:

"Waking Up White," a book by Debby Irving

Description, comments: This is Pam’s #1 pick. A good read about a White, privileged woman who shares her struggles with understanding her own socially acquired racism and how it influenced her ability to effectively work on behalf of minorities. Very helpful in looking at our own racism. In particular, I learned from the chapter on how the GI Bill following World War II discriminated heavily against Black Americans and added much to the discrimination we still see today. 

Recommended by Rev. Elaine Bomford


What it is, where to find it:

"Citizen: An American Lyric," a book by Claudia Rankine

Description, comments: A book-length poem about race and imagination. Rankine has called it an attempt to 'pull the lyric back into its realities.' Those realities include the acts of everyday racism - remarks, glances, implied judgments..." (The New Yorker, October 27, 2014). Rankine’s new book, Just Us: An American Conversation, will be published in September 2020.

What it is, where to find it:

“Historical and Future Trajectories of Black Lives Matter & Unitarian Universalism,” a lecture by The Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed, Spring 2017.

Description, comments: Good for Session 3.  Eye-opening 1 hour and 47 minutes, unfolding the stories of numerous times Black lives did not matter in the history of Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism. A call to conscience for people of liberal faith.

What it is, where to find it:

“Letter from a Region in My Mind,” essay by James Baldwin in The New Yorker 11/17/62.

Description: Prophetic, eloquent and compelling extended essay.

What it is, where to find it:

"So You Want to Talk About Race," book, Kindle or Audiobook, by Ijeoma Oluo, Audiobook read by Bahni Turpin. 

Description, comments: Good for Session 1. Challenging, engaging and useful. The vocabulary of racial oppression defined: racism, White privilege, "check your privilege," intersectionality, intent v. impact, microaggression, police, the "n" word. Candid, passionate text effectively conveyed through Turpin's narration. 

What it is, where to find it:

"The Gadfly Papers," book or Kindle by Rev. Todd Ekloff.

Description, comments: This 2019 text, particularly the first essay, has sparked controversy and revealed painful rifts within Unitarian Universalism. From the publisher: "The Gadfly Papers is a collection of three essays written by Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof about the negative impacts the emerging culture of Political Correctness, Safetyism, and Identitarianism is having on America's most liberal religion. It's written specifically for Unitarian Universalists who care about the future of their faith."

What it is, where to find it:

“UU 8th Principle,” proposed text by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU).

Description, comments: Link has Principle text, history, and arguments for its adoption. "Discuss the 8th Principle with your congregation. Adopt it for your congregation. Live by it. Act!" A number of UU congregations have formally adopted this Principle.

What it is, where to find it:

"Widening the Circle of Concern," report of the UUA Committee on Institutional Change. Read online or download PDF:  

Description, comments: 2020 Report following "an audit of racism" within UUA organization and congregations, collection of stories of harm, examination and documentation of events and practices at all levels, and identification of promising practices. Grounded in theological reflection, "seeking the articulation of a liberating Unitarian Universalism which is anti-oppressive, multicultural and accountable to the richness of our diverse heritage."

What it is, where to find it:

"The Water Dancer," book, Kindle or Audiobook, by Ta-Nahesi Coates.  Audiobook read by Joe Morton. 

Description, comments: This is Rev. Elaine’s #1 pick. Moving, beautifully written imaginative story of slavery, African power, and "conduction" along the Underground Railroad. Narration of by Joe Morton is inspiring.

What it is, where to find it:

“Why Anti-Racism Will Fail,” lecture by Rev. Dr. Thandeka.

Description, comments: Good for Session 3. Also recommended by Candace Damon.  Controversial lecture delivered by UU minister and theologian Thandeka at Meadville-Lombard Divinity School in 1999.

Recommended by Candace Damon


What it is, where to find it:

“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” an article by Peggy McIntosh.

Description, comments: This is quite good on intersectionality. The author is a feminist who explores how women understand what male privilege is - and shows how (even though it’s not intuitive for White women), White privilege operates similarly. I’d skim the 3-page list in the middle, but the rest is very good, very helpful in getting one to think through: if I've internalized the effects of male privilege, why can't I comprehend White privilege? Rev. Elaine says, “I found this essay very helpful, including the list.”

What it is, where to find it:

"Women, Race and Class," a long essay/short book by Angela Davis.  Available in multiple hardcopy and e-book formats.  

Description, comments: Compelling examination of the feminist movement in this country from the 1830s(ish) to the 1970s (published in 1981) that examines the racist and classist views of the movement's leadership.  If this is of interest, I further recommend the 9-episode "Mrs. America" on Hulu FX, which is about Phyllis Schlafley and the ERA, but has an amazing episode that focuses on Shirley Chisholm's (played by the amazing Uzo Aduba) Presidential campaign and the perfidy of Gary Hart. 

What it is, how to find it:

“21 Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge,” a compilation of links to documents complied by Eddie Moore for the American Bar Association.

Description and comments: I suggest skimming to see what floats your boat. Maybe you will read it all, maybe not. But definitely don't skip Day 14.

What it is, how to find it:

"The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace," a memoir by Jeff Hobbs.  Soon to be a movie.  

Description and comments: This is Candace’s #1 pick. A brilliant young Black man from a low-income family in Newark is admitted to Yale. He is immensely (if unevenly and sometimes heartbreakingly) successful at Yale on many fronts, but cannot manage the transition from Yale back to Newark. All of the protagonist (i.e. Robert), the narrator (Jeff), and the story resonated strongly personally for me/reminded me of people I know/have known, including myself.

Recommended by Judy Lundahl


What it Is, Where to Find It

"How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Race, White Supremacy, and The Racial Divide," a book by Crystal Marie Fleming

Description, comments: Combining no-holds-barred social critique, humorous personal anecdotes, and analysis of the latest interdisciplinary scholarship on systemic racism, sociologist Crystal M. Fleming provides a fresh, accessible, and irreverent take on everything that’s wrong with our “national conversation about race.” Dr.Fleming, a Black, Harvard- trained sociologist, who is now Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook, writes to Blacks and Whites about racism. I found her personal insights, as well as some academic discussion, very helpful.

What it is, how to find it:

An hour-long presentation by Crystal Marie Fleming at Virginia Wesleyan University

Description, comments: Dr. Fleming, author of the above-listed book, speaks about race, racism, her books and research. Friendly and filled with information. Dispels the notion that liberals cannot be racists.

What it is, how to find it:

"Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America," a short book/essay by Michael Eric Dyson. Available in hardcopy and as an e-book.  

Description, comments: Straight talking. Meant for White folks.  Rev. Elaine says, 
“I listened to Rev. Dyson preach this as an audiobook (via library Overdrive app). Very effective. Beloved.”

What it is, how to find it:

"The Yellow House: A Memoir," by Sarah M. Broom. Available in hardcopy and as an e-book.  

Description, comments: 2019 National Book Award for Non-Fiction Winner; one of the books of the summer 2020 KSC CALL book group.. A beautifully written memoir of several generations of Broom's family living on the east side of New Orleans. The Yellow House was the family home purchased by her hardworking mother in the segregated city. Hurricane Katrina later destroyed it. I loved her writing style.  

What it is, how to find it:

“Sarah M. Broom's Yellow House, Historical Feat,” a review of the above book in The Atlantic.

A create-your-own virtual tour of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, located in Montgomery, AL., and spearheaded by Bryan Stevenson, the author, among other notable accomplishments, of Just Mercy (see Antonia’s picks).

Description, comments: The nation's first national memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. Very moving sculpture, some abstract, some realistic. All heart rending. 

The website also contains information about Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, and to challenging racial and economic injustice.

What it is, how to find it:

“Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” a video series hosted by Emmanuel Acho.

Description, comments: Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with White America, in order to educate and inform on racism, systemic racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt African Americans are feeling today. Excellent series. Comfortable listening.

What it is, how to find it:

"Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," a book by Isabel Wilkerson.  Available as hard copy, Kindle and Audible. 

Description, comments: This is Judy’s #1 pick. Interesting and understandable explanation of racism as integral part of a caste system in the US. In describing the dehumanization of slaves in America, she compares the treatment of US slaves to the untouchables in the Indian caste system, as well as the Nazi treatment of Jews. First book I've read which clarifies the origin of racism and the caste system that keeps it systemic. Excellent. Author of Warmth of Other Suns, which Karen Walter recommends.

What it is, where to find it:

A speech and Q&A with Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race, Seattle, Mar 2019

Description, comments: Good for Session 1. She talks about her books, her work on racism, White supremacy and White privilege. Included is a rich Q & A session. 1:43:41

Recommended by Karen Walter

What it is, where to find it:

"13th," a documentary by Ava DuVernay, available on Netflix and YouTube

Description, comments: Good for Session 2.  Essential, award-winning viewing. Begins with a discussion of the use of the "except for conviction of a crime" loophole in the 13th Amendment to justify post-Civil War uncompensated labor. Reviews the impact of DW Griffith's "Birth of a Nation." Concludes with a review of modern mass incarceration, a function of the War on Drugs. Does a great job tying all these together.

What it is, where to find it:

“Bail Bonds Industry is Destroying Lives,” an interview by David Pakman of Alec Karakatsanis.

Description, comments: Kaarakatsanis is a civil rights lawyer working to end bail bonding.

If Beale Street Could Talk, a film based on the book of the same name by James Baldwin.

Fictional story of two Black families in 1970s New York; repercussions of false witness.  Both the book and the film are good.  

What it is, where to find it:

"The Hate U Give," a book by Angie Thomas.  

Description, comments: Fictional story of Black teenage girl's life living in a Black urban neighborhood and attending a White private school. Insightful for White folks. Selected as the VT Humanities Book of 2020.  There is also a movie, but it is not as good.

What it is, where to find it:
"Why Fixing the US Bail System is Tricky," an animated video.

Description, comments:  Good for Session 2.  Only four jurisdictions have abolished bail bonding - Alaska, Washington, DC, California, and New Jersey.

Definitions of Black Joy 


Interview of Kleaver Cruz, founder of the Black Joy project 6:16 


People in the street define Black Joy as part of the Weeksville oral history project     :48  :14


Homage & Appropriation, from Candace Damon

Aretha Franklin - Climbing Higher Mountains (Recording Session Live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church,


Fashion slides -- to be shown at our meeting


Jazz, Poetry & Dance selections from Joanna Andros:


Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters,Watermelon Man 15:00       


Sherrie Silver and Amanda Gorman's Spectacular Dance Poetry Performance  3:45     


Protest Poetry, Rev. Elaine Bomford


Climbing PoeTree "We Rising Up" 5:35


Lucille Clifton "won't you celebrate with me" and commentary from Safiya Sinclair (

u celebrate with me

Lucille Clifton - 1936-2010

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.





Safiya Sinclair on "won't you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton

What a balm and a blessing this poem has been to me. I have carried this sonnet—both an ode to the self and also an act of resistance—inside me like gospel, like armor. Against a world that has marked us invisible and unworthy, black joy is important. Self-love is imperative. And here Lucille Clifton shows us that both joy and self-love radiating from a black woman is also a kind of defiance.

When I was growing up there were so few examples of what a strong, successful black woman could look like, much less a black woman poet—how could we, the unseen and unconsidered, find a place of our own not just to exist, but to thrive?

For all of us, black women born in Babylon, with our meager inheritance of oppression and the diminishment of our selfhood and a world that turns its back to say, “You are not enough as you are”—for a black woman to stand in exaltation of herself is radical, is necessary. This poem gave me a voice and a crucial model to carve out my own world, to know it is possible to sing a self.

Here is Clifton stepping inside the American poetic tradition—a tradition that never considered her, however multitudinously it declared itself—and fashioning a new mold for her life, for black womanhood in all its broad fields and rivers of wonder. Here, “on this bridge between / starshine and clay,” she not only beams out a nation that has tried to snuff her out, but knowing that the black woman must nurture and cherish her own self in the world, she divines this life as a rebellious necessity. To be black in America is to be endangered. To be a black woman in America is to be the unsung casualty. To be a black woman alive in America and writing poetry is miraculous. Here I am, she says—despite a fight against my selfhood and survival at every turn, here I am—in radiant joy, in full bloom, in celebration of myself, and despite you, I’m still alive and alive and alive.


Black American women artists, Judy Lundahl


Faith Ringgold


Samella Lewis

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