Summer Resource Recommendations: Exploring Racial Justice Issues

Every Tuesday during UCLA’s summer break (June 16 through Sept. 22), Library staff and student workers will share resource recommendations related to issues of racial justice, and how the Bruin community can read, view or listen to these critical materials.

Sept. 15 | Dalena Sanderson-Hunter, Librarian/Archivist for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures
Dalena Sanderson-Hunter (l) is quoted in the October 2020 UCLA Magazine cover story on Afrofuturism.
Afrofuturism: From the Past to the Living Present

UCLA Magazine: October issue cover story

Dalena says: "With Afrofuturism, the point is to challenge what it means for Black people to be free on our own terms. Liberation is a very important part of the genre."

Sept. 8 | Mary Senyonga (she/her/hers), PhD '21, Center for Primary Research and Training Scholar
Mary Senyonga's blog, Naming and Honoring the Black Women Hidden in the Archive
Naming and Honoring the Black Women Hidden in the Archive

UCLA Library Special Collections blog

Mary says: "In this blog post, I want to celebrate the Black women who have provided examples of how to resist oppression, made space to celebrate Blackness, and lived full lives that sometimes get eclipsed by more well-known counterparts."

Sept. 1 | Matthew Vest, Music Inquiry and Research LibrarianMatthew Vest recommends "Songs of Our Native Daughters"

Songs of Our Native Daughters

Stream this 13-track album on YouTube, Smithsonian Folk Ways, Spotify or Bandcamp

Matthew says: "Songs of Our Native Daughters, written by four Black women - Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla and Amythyst Kiah – who all play banjos, takes inspiration from historic sources to tell stories about racism and misogyny. The album centers historic Black female narratives, as the composers confront persistent views by cultivating hope and resistance."

August 25 | Maya Montañez Smukler, Film & Television Archive Research and Study Center OfficerMaya Montañez Smukler recommends Unbought & Unbossed

Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed | Directed by Shola Lynch

Accessible via Kanopy (UCLA or local library authentication required)

Maya says: "Unbought & Unbossed (2004) follows New York congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) on her bid for the presidency in 1972. Chisholm sets the screen on fire in Shola Lynch’s documentary—the congresswoman is magnetic, articulate, fierce, charming, funny, stylish, whip-smart and on the level. She was outspoken on issues of gender parity and racial discrimination, with regards to herself as the first Black woman elected to Congress (1968-1982), and for the Brooklyn constituencies with whom she represented. Lynch balances Chisholm as the singular subject, immersed in some of the most consequential political battles of that era: the political mobilization of second wave feminism, the influence of the Black (male) political body, and the struggle to end the Vietnam War. This week marks the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment when women won their Constitutional right to vote. Chisholm’s legacy underlines how gender and race have always informed this country’s democratic process at its core. Get your ballots ready."

August 18 | Janine Henri, Architecture & Design LibrarianJanine Henri recommends Reconstruction 2020

Reconstruction 2020

Watch on the Economic Policy Institute's YouTube channel

Janine says: "Calls for an end to systemic racism heard all around the country are leading many organizations to examine their policies and the values they reflect. On July 9, 2020, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) hosted an event that examined 'why policy must be changed to reverse the nation’s culture of anti-Blackness and the economic inequality surrounding it.' As part of this event, Richard Rothstein discussed his book, The Color of Law: a Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which is an investigation of how U.S. governmental policies deliberately and unconstitutionally imposed segregation on American metropolitan areas. The video documents the EPI panel’s discussion around the need for remedies to reshape 'the country into one that values Black lives and bolsters economic opportunities for all.'"

"Richard Rothstein’s book is considered essential reading for anyone interested in social justice, poverty and American history. Many reading groups are currently discussing it, including historic preservation professionals, within the context of preservation practices and ordinances. The book and video helped me better understand the history of U.S. government-sponsored segregation and the need for redress."

August 11 | Julia Tanenbaum MLIS '21, Reference & Instruction Assistant + Digital Library Graduate AssistantJulia Tanenbaum recommends, a resource hub about ending violence

Julia says: "In the wake of UCLA's heavily criticized collaboration with the LAPD and the use of Jackie Robinson Stadium as a "field jail" to incarcerate protestors, student and faculty-led organizations like No UCPD Coalition and Divest/Invest are urging UCLA to divest from policing and prisons and invest in reparative public goods. This resource hub details alternative models of confronting violence, including transformative justice, restorative justice, community accountability and more. It includes a plethora of audiovisual content, articles and even curriculum, making it appropriate for activists and community members inside and outside of the classroom."

August 4 | Bridget Risemberg, Access Services AssistantBridget Risemberg recommends "Negroes with Guns"

Negroes with Guns by Robert F. Williams

Accessible via the HathiTrust Digital Library (UCLA authentication required)

Bridget says: "I understand how important it is for oppressed people to fight back and how all of this is quite illustrative of the importance of the second amendment. I  had not really given it much thought until the current political climate and how effective it was in developing a movement to protect the rights of Blacks when the government was not. Robert F. Williams was critical in establishing a foundation for progress."

- Visual learners should watch the eponymous documentary, available on Kanopy (UCLA authentication required) -

July 28 | Christopher Lopez, Public Services AssistantChristopher Lopez recommends "Encyclopedia of Black Comics"

Encyclopedia of Black Comics by Sheena C. Howard

Accessible via Worldcat (UCLA VPN access or proxy server required - instructions)

Christopher says: "As comics and the histories of their making enter into mainstream conversation (popular and scholarly) it's crucial that we avoid bringing with it the systemic racism that shaped which comics and creators were remembered and celebrated. Encyclopedia of Black Comics not only deconstructs the image of comics that I grew up with, but sets me on a path to read, study and celebrate the voices of Black creators and characters far too often silenced."

- Explore the Library's new research guide on comics and graphic novels -

July 21 | Todd Wiener, Motion Picture Archivist
Todd Wiener recommends "Brother Outsider"
Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (2003) | Directed by Bennett Singer and Nancy Kates

Accessible via Kanopy (UCLA or local library authentication required)

Todd says: "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (2003, free on Kanopy through participating libraries) offers a razor-sharp portrait of charismatic political activist Bayard Rustin, an 'unknown hero' of the civil rights movement. A visionary strategist and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rustin was shunned by allies and targeted by enemies, simply because he was gay. The inclusivity of the current #BlackLivesMatter movement (particularly in relation to the trans POC community) gives witness to the power of unity and a diverse front. Although Rustin never witnessed such inclusivity during his lifetime, he resisted defeat and triumphed in his advocacy efforts. In Rustin’s own words, 'when an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.' This engaging and inspiring documentary is fiercely relevant and ready for rediscovery."

- Find additional recommended titles on activism and advocacy in the UCLA Film & Television Archive's "Safer at Home Cinema" series -

July 14 | Danya Elgebaly '21, Student Communications AssistantDanya Elgebaly 21' recommends How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time by Baratunde Thurston

How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time | TED Talk by Baratunde Thurston

Watch on YouTube

Danya says: "This Ted Talk explores the role of news headlines in influencing perceptions and how they primarily target people of color. More specifically, Thurston evaluates these headlines in the context of instances of calling the police and constructively breaks down ways by which individuals should better analyze situations based on the subject, the target, and the activity at hand. Continuously preaching that 'simply reversing the flow of injustice is not justice; it’s vengeance,' Thurston's words really struck me to better understand the immense effects of racial prejudice on news stories and how even we can do better to de-construct its interpretation."

July 7 | Chela Metzger, Head of Preservation & Conservation
Chela Metzger, Head of Preservation & Conservation recommends "Conservation is Not Neutral (and Neither Are We)"
Conservation is Not Neutral (and Neither Are We) | webinar by Fletcher Durant

Watch on Icon Book & Paper Group's YouTube channel

Chela says: "Have you ever wondered who is asked to clean Black Lives Matter paint off of confederate statues or other objects? Often it is an art conservator. Are they neutral in this work? Are they neutral in any work they do? In this presentation, Fletcher Durant [of University of Florida Preservation] helps us see where the field of preservation and conservation has been and shares some ideas for where it might be going. The unique training for art conservation prepares conservators to be thought leaders in cultural heritage interpretation, not just to be technicians."

June 30 | Rhonda A. Super, Serials Specialist and Checkin SupervisorOpen copy of "Black Women in America"

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn

Accessible via the HathiTrust Digital Library (UCLA authentication required)

Rhonda says: "This title addresses the historical gap of two groups whose contributions have been missing from the American social fabric and historical record: women and African-Americans. My interest in the woman suffrage movement led me to discover this title. In addition to broadening my understanding of the racial discrimination that existed in the suffrage movement, it opened a whole world on contributions of Black American women - and did it delightfully!"

Read Rhonda's blog exploring more of Black Women in America -

June 23 | Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist in the UCLA Film & Television ArchiveMark Quigley recommends  Marlon Riggs' "Color Adjustment"

Color Adjustment (1992) | Directed by Marlon Riggs

Accessible via Kanopy (UCLA or local library authentication required)

Mark says: "In his essential work, 'Color Adjustment' (1992), acclaimed New Queer Cinema filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs uncompromisingly examines 40 years of African American images on television. Framed by incisive quotes from James Baldwin, Riggs employs original interviews, deep research and extensive archival footage to illuminate the disparity between portrayals of Black life on the small screen and reality. Through the deconstruction of iconic scenes of beloved TV programs juxtaposed against news footage from the civil rights era, Riggs reveals the damaging illusions (from minstrelsy to colorblind utopias) that television propagates to appease white viewers in the name of commerce. The still-relevant documentary received a prestigious Peabody Award in 1993 as 'a timely and enlightening treatment of an important topic.'”

June 16 | Kaitlin Alcontin ’22, Powell Library Digital Outreach Student AssistantKaitlin Alcontin ’22 recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me"

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates'

Accessible via the HathiTrust Digital Library (UCLA authentication required)

Kaitlin says: “Ta-Nehisi Coates says it all in this profound letter to his son, especially when pointing out the inherent violence of structural oppression: ‘Racism is a visceral experience, that dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.’”

- Between the World and Me was the UCLA Common Book for 2016-17; a wealth of resources, including a timeline of related titles, can be found in this Library LibGuide -