What We’re Reading

From expanding our policy fight to becoming a more inclusive and belonging organization, Food Bankers always seem to have our noses in books, blogs, and articles that help us be more effective in our work. Below is a list of recommendations that some Food Bankers have found helpful (or just really liked).

We hope you find them helpful, too.

Please check back often as we update this list regularly!

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
Edward E. Baptist

A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America’s economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves.

Thick: and Other Essays
Tressie McMillan Cottom

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. 

Racism: Science & Tools for the Public Health Professional 
Edited by Chandra L. Ford, PhD, Derek M. Griffith, PhD, Marino A. Bruce, PhD, and Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH

This important publication builds on the racial health equity work that public health advocates and others have been doing for decades. They have documented the existence of health inequities and have combatted health inequities stemming from racism. This book, which targets racism directly and includes the word squarely in its title, marks an important shift in the field’s antiracism struggle for racial health equity. 

Kiese Laymon

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, “Heavy” is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. 

Recipes from two centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook
Toni Tipton-Martin

Throughout her career, Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and depth of African American cuisine. She’s introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what’s considered to be our national cuisine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it? In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslaved chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. 

From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century
Andrea Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity Jr.

“William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront racial injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery.” 

Are Prisons Obsolete?
Angela Davis

Oakland native, feminist, and Black Panther, Angela Davis, argues for the abolition of our prison system.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Audre Lorde

“Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change.”

Envisioning Emancipation
Audre Lorde

“Renowned photographic historian Deborah Willis and historian of slavery Barbara Krauthamer have amassed 150 photographs—some never before published—from the antebellum days of the 1850s through the New Deal era of the 1930s. The authors vividly display the seismic impact of emancipation on African Americans born before and after the Proclamation, providing a perspective on freedom and slavery.”

Stamped from the Beginning
Ibram X. Kendi

“Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists.” Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction.”

Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
Ibram X. Kendi

“Black Against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence.”

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Ta-Nehisi Coates

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison

“A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.”

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
Angela Johnson (Author), E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

“Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.”

Antiracist Baby
Ibram X. Kendi and Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

“With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism.”

The Color of Law
A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
By Richard Rothstein

“Few people can distill the profound reverberating effect institutional racism has on the world today like Rothstein.” 

White Fragility:
Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism
By Robin DiAnglo

“I really appreciate how she frames racism and sets up a safe space to engage in dialogue.” – Allison, Chief of Partnerships and Strategy

How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind
Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance
By Mirah Curzer

“Great self-care tips to considering during times like these!” 

Decolonize Your Diet:
Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing
By Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel

Read about our client-centered nutrition work with Dr. Calvo in the Fall 2019 issue of Community Harvest

A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty
By The National Academy of Sciences

The strengths and abilities children develop from infancy through adolescence are crucial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive growth, which in turn help them to achieve success in school and to become responsible, economically self-sufficient, and healthy adults. Read full description

Mobilizing Inclusion: Transforming the Electorate through Get-Out-the Vote Campaigns
by Lisa Bedolla Garcia and Melissa R. Michelson
“Premised on the understanding that being a voter is part of one’s identity, and not just something one does, Dr. Garcia and Dr. Michelson provide advocates committed to civic engagement the tools to help empower communities to make their own voices heard.” – Ezer, Policy Advocate