The BlackQuaker Project’s Anti-Violence Resource Guide for Quakers Confronting Systemic Violence
The BlackQuaker Project aims, in part, to address the concerns of Quakers of Color. In the USA, at this critical moment, Quakers and People of Color are concerned for their futures. The omnipresence of police violence and uneven effects of the pandemic on communities of color due to systemic racism has resulted in the senseless murders of countless Black people and the increased risk of dying from COVID-19. The BlackQuaker Project has compiled a list of resources (resources to learn about systemic violence, places to donate, and additional ways to support the protests) for the Quaker community, paying special attention to resources that promote the Quaker values of peace with justice and equality with justice. Updated June 19th, 2020.
Readings from Harvard professors in African American Studies from The Harvard Gazette:
1. Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois.
"No one did more to write the African American people into the textual universe of speaking subjects, as agents, than did William Edward Burghardt Du Bois in his canonical work of American literature." -Henry Louis Gates Jr.
2. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2019) by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
"...describes the creation following slavery of a racist ideology that framed African Americans as dangerous and likely criminals; that mindset animated laws, policies, and aggressive police practices that dehumanize, criminalize, incarcerate, and sometimes lead to the killing of disproportionate numbers of African Americans."
3. The Origin of Others (2017) by Toni Morrison
"In her signature ornate and deeply lyrical manner, she examines the persistence of racism, bigotry, and intolerance in a world where we still have to demonstrate that … black lives matter." -Michelle Williams
4. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (2019) by Savannah Shange
"It explores race, abolition, criminalization, and policing in the context of education." -Todne Thomas
5. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (2016) by Elizabeth Hinton
"[The book] explains the policy shift soon after passage of landmark Civil Rights legislation during the 1960s from social welfare to criminal justice as a framework for understanding enduring racial inequities, poverty, and unrest." -Tomiko Brown-Nagin
6. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016) by Carol Anderson
"It so plainly shows us that whenever African Americans started to make any strides (in education, voting, employment, home ownership), those gains were a threat to the status quo of inequality — those strides sparked incredibly intense and well-organized blowback — all of which leads me to appreciate just how insidious and persistent racial hatred is in the U.S." -Michelle Williams
6. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (2016)
by Arlie Hochschild
"A genuine effort to understand the viewpoints of decent, sane, often thoughtful supporters of the Tea Party and Trump — the people I don’t know very well outside of newspaper stories." -Jennifer Hochschild
7. Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy (2006) by Diana Mutz.
"We seem to be able to have either deeply committed political or social activists, or thoughtful, deliberative discussions among people who disagree with each other — but not both. How can a democracy thrive in that sort of situation, and how might we alleviate it (if we should)?" -Jennifer Hochschild
8. City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771‒1965 (2017) by Kelly Lytle Hernández
"UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernández reveals the roots of mass incarceration in Los Angeles, the largest urban site of human confinement in the nation." -Tiya Miles
9. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945‒2006 (Third Edition 2007) by Manning Marable
"Beginning with the legacy of post-Civil War Reconstruction amendments, Marable offers an inspiring, sweeping, and detailed history of African American social protest movements." -Tommie Shelby
10. Racism: A Short History (2015, original ed. 2002) by George Fredrickson
"What informs these episodes of racialized violence, the criminalization of people of African descent, across national boundaries? How do we make sense of the enduring power of white supremacist ideologies and practices? Why do we classify people to begin with?" -Alejandro de la Fuente
11. When Police Kill (2017) by Franklin E. Zimring
"...a groundbreaking, fact-based analysis, including trends over time, of the high use of deadly force by police in the U.S., including lethal force against African Americans and Native Americans." -William Julius Wilson
12. Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment (2018) by Angela Davis
"...it addresses from a variety of perspectives — historical, sociological, legalistic — a gamut of issues that are currently at the forefront of public attention. It addresses, for instance, why is blackness is so closely associated with criminality in the American mind?" -Randall Kennedy
1. An open letter to white people just now getting involved in social justice, by Ijeoma Ouma.
2. Letter From a Birmingham Jail, an open letter by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his time spent in Birmingham jail. In it he writes "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".
3. These books on the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation reading list.
4. The 1619 Project, created by the New York Times, aims to reframe America’s history by centering it around Black Americans and racial injustice.
5. The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that shares their research on social and economic policy with anyone looking to address today’s problems and prevent future ones.
6. Campaign Zero has a multitude of resources and data on their website that they use when advocating for policy solutions.
7. How We Rise, a blog launched by The Race, Prosperity and Inclusion Initiative at Brookings discusses the challenges and work that needs to be done to tackle structural racism in the US. We found this post from Camille Busette particularly intriguing.
9. Fit for Freedom Not for Friendship (2009) by Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye
"While there were Friends committed to ending enslavement and post-enslavement injustices, this study of Quaker history reveals that racism has been as insidious, complex, and pervasive among Friends as it has been generally among people of European descent. The book documents the spiritual and practical impacts of discrimination in the Religious Society of Friends in the expectation that understanding the truth of our past is vital to achieving a diverse, inclusive community in the future." -from the authors
8. Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights (2011) an anthology by Harold D. Weaver, Paul Kriese, Stephen W. Angell, Emma Lapsansky-Werner, and Anne Steere Nash
"Black Fire is a landmark book that reframes our understanding of Quakerism, for it highlights the degree to which American Quakers were interracial almost from the outset, with black leaders shaping Friends spiritual and reform visions. Brilliantly conceived and beautifully edited, it should be required reading for anyone interested in American religion and reform." -John Stauffer, Chair of History of American Civilization at Harvard
1. This video explains, in simple terms and visuals, systemic racism in America. Use it to educate yourself and your children.
2. A Conversation About Growing Up Black | Op-Docs | The New York Times
3. A Conversation With Black Women on Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times
4. Professor Megan Francis explains the root of racial inequality in a Ted Talk.
5. On Netflix and/or other streaming platforms:
Who Killed Malcom X?: This docuseries explores the murder of Malcom X decades after his assassination. (Rachel Dretzin Phil Bertelsen. Who killed Malcom X?. USA, 2020.)
Time: The Kalief Browder Story: The true story of a young Black teenager who was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack at the age of 16, sent to Rikers Island where he spent two out of three years in solitary confinement, and eventually took his own life at the age of 22 due to the trauma and abuse he experienced. Produced by Jay-Z. (Jenner Furst. Time: The Kalief Browder Story. USA, 2017.)
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson: The re-examination of the death of Black, transgender gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson. (David France. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. USA, 2017.)
6. Free movies & documentaries:
13th: A documentary exploring the deep racial inequalities in the U.S. and the disproportionate amount of Black people in the prison systems. Titled after the 13th amendment, which allows slavery as punishment for a crime. (Ava Duvernay, and Jason Moran. 13TH. USA, 2016.)
LA 92: This documentary examines the LA riots of 1992 through all original footage. (Daniel Lindsay. LA 92. USA, 2017.)
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975: Swedish journalists and filmmakers examine the development of the Black Power Movement from 1967-1975. (Göran Olsson. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. USA, 2011.)
Just Mercy: This film recounts the true story of the unfair trial of Walter McMillian. (Destin Daniel Cretton. Just Mercy. USA, 2019.)
7. The Quakers of Color International Archives, curated by The BlackQuaker Project and housed at UMASS Amherst, documents the lives, contributions and concerns of Quakers of Color worldwide.
1. Intersectionality Matters! A podcast hosted by civil rights activist and lead scholar on critical race theory, Kimberlé Crenshaw.
2. What Matters: In this documentary narrative mixed with interviews format, the Black Lives Matter movement has created a platform to create dialogues promoting freedom, justice, and collective liberation.
3. The Daily, by the New York Times, is a daily podcast that addresses current events in the United States by interviewing professionals and collecting the stories of regular people.
4. Code Switch by NPR talks about race’s role in history to today’s pop culture, and is brought to you by a team of people of color.
Other Ways to Support Anti-Systemic Violence
2. Buy from Black-owned businesses, or businesses donating profits to aid the movement. You can begin to find Black-owned business anywhere in the United States by using the Official Black Wall Street or Support Black Owned directories, though they certainly do not cover all Black-owned businesses.
3. The NAACP has set up an easy way to email your House and Senate representatives about COVID-19 justice and criminal justice reforms here.
4. Know who you’re voting for. And VOTE.
5. Contact your representatives
6. Being active on social media and following the news is a great way to find resources, including petitions to sign and people to call for justice. Though there will always be misinformation, it is important to stay up-to-date and engaged on these topics instead of blocking them out.
The BlackQuaker Project would like to thank all the resources we used while compiling this list, especially the resource lists given by Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List, and The Harvard Gazette.