The following are a list of book recommendations by staff in the Love Thy Neighborhood office that helped each of them with racial reconciliation. Each recommendation is to assist and provide insight to the idea of racial reconciliation and how to better prepare oneself in that area.
Jesse Eubanks’s Choice:
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brian
This book is a treasure trove of scholarly insight. While it explores a variety of topics that Westerners often overlook as they read the Bible – social mores, individualism/collectivism, languages – it is the chapter on race and ethnicity that places it on our book recommendations list. During a time in which many people feel that ethnicity is over-discussed and over-emphasized, Richards and O’Brian remind us of how much ethnicity has always influenced humanity – both for good and for ill. Their insights allow the pages of scripture to come alive with culture, skin tone, customs and languages in ways that are easy to overlook. They bring things that are inferred to the surface where they can be understood and explored. Seeing how racism and ethnocentrism impacted the story of the Bible works retroactively to help us also begin to see how these same sins continue to wound us today. God’s remedy for his people then continues to be his remedy for his people now. But we have to see the wound to know what needs to be healed.
Kiana Brown’s Choice:
Reconciliation Blues by Edward Gilbreath
I appreciate that Gilbreath gives a history of racial reconciliation in this book. When I first read this book I was just starting to get acquainted with the idea that there needed to be reconciliation in regard to race and ethnicity and learning the history behind all of it was deeply impactful for me. It not only furthered my understanding but also deepened my compassion towards those that don’t look like me. It really challenged me to listen and pray before jumping to conclusions and showed me the value to surrounding yourself and learning from those that look and think differently than me.
Leandro Lozada’s Choice:
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton
For me, there is a before and after reading Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom. As a foreigner, I knew about Harriet but just in passing. I knew she was awesome, but I did not know that she was prodigiously awesome! The book narrates how she fled slavery, moved to the north, worked as a cook for rich people in the warm months and then, in the cold months, ventured to the South to rescue slaves The book is inspiring because it shows a beautiful black woman, full of strength, courage and conviction.
Rachel Szabo’s Choices:
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
It was while reading this book that I first came to realize that I have an ethnic background and ethnic identity, and so does everyone else. Learning for the first time the day-to-day ways ethnicity plays a role in the lives of African Americans was a real eye-opener. I never thought much about ethnicity until I read this book. This book was a key jumping-off point in my journey to learn more about ethnic reconciliation.
The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
Great, easy-to-follow walkthrough of the history of the treatment of African Americans in our country. The closing chapters on what you need to do to be an anti-racist may be a bit overwhelming or radical for some. But the history lessons found within make it an eye-opening read.
Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
Based on historical research and a true story, this book follows the friendship of preacher Charles Spurgeon and American slave Thomas Johnson. An honest look at different responses to ethnic injustice in America. Plus, just a captivating story!
These are books or other resources we have heard great things about put haven’t had a chance to personally read yet.
- Woke Church by Eric Mason
- White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to be White by Daniel Hill
- United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia J. Newbell
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown