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Topical - Resources for Racial Reconciliation and Justice: Literature

Books, articles & more in support of communities talking about race.


In her haunting and necessary essay “In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens,” Alice Walker reminds us that reconciliation must happen not only with one another in the present, but also with the stillborn creative energies of our mothers and grandmothers of the past. Many of these enslaved women, she writes, were artists —painters, poets, sculptors, musicians — “driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.” One way to grieve this loss — which is all of humanity’s — is to notice and steward whatever creative freedoms and energies we are fortunate enough to have. Another is to explore, talk about, and share the vast outpouring of creative works by the children and grandchildren of our lost artists. Start with Walker’s essay (in the collection of the same name) and then move on to the other gorgeous offerings found on this page.

- Dr. Claire Miller Colombo, Assistant Professor of Writing, Theology, and the Arts, and Director of the Center for Writing and Creative Expression

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She explores the black experience in America in near mystical terms that nevertheless carry immense weight. Her emphasis on belonging and the community, created and upheld in large part by women, imparts hope amidst painful pasts and experiences.

Fox, Margalit. "Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88." The New York Times. 6 Aug 2019. Web. 5 Nov 2019.

Historical & Biographical Works


The Coretta Scott King Book Awards

"The 2019 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner is Claire Hartfield, author of "A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919," published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [This book] is a meticulously researched exposition of the socio-economic landscape and racial tensions that led to the death of a black teen who wanted to swim, and the violent clash that resulted."

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. American Library Association. n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2019. 

Pauli Murray

The Pauli Murray Project

“True Community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.”

- Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray Project


Audre Lorde


Audre Lorde, by her own assertion, was a lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet. Lorde celebrated her blackness and woman-ness, and railed at continued racial injustice.

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is a novelist, poet, and activist. She coined the term "womanism" to get at the intersectionality of race and gender oppression. Alice believes that all people are to do the work of cultivating compassion in themselves for others.


Spiritual Life