One of the calls to action in the Black Lives Matter movement is to consume artistic and educational works whose themes examine race and/or were created by authors of color.

UCF Libraries, along with faculty from UCF’s College of Arts and Humanities recommend a sampling of 26 works, including fiction and non-fiction books, eBooks, children’s books, theatrical plays and videos that discuss racial topics and history.

If you are interested in browsing more titles, UCF Libraries has compiled a list of more than 100 physical books, ebooks and streaming videos that provide information about current events, historical context for the events, and resources on having conversations about race and discrimination. Each work on the list is available for students, faculty and staff to borrow through UCF Libraries.


Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Summary: A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America, by George Yancy

Summary: When George Yancy penned a New York Times op-ed entitled “Dear White America” asking white Americans to confront the ways that they benefit from racism, he knew his article would be controversial. In Backlash, Yancy expands upon the original article and chronicles the ensuing controversy as he seeks to understand what it was about the op-ed that created so much rage among so many white readers.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Summary: In a letter to his adolescent son, Coates shares the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, by Imani Perry

Summary: Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland, by Jonathan M. Metzi

Summary: Physician and sociologist Jonathan M. Metzl travels across America’s heartland seeking to better understand the politics of racial resentment and its impact on public health.

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Summary: Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle … Esi will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the castle’s women’s dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.

How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi

Summary: Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of anti-racism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege, by Shannon Sullivan

Summary: This book examines how white privilege operates as unseen, invisible, even seemingly nonexistent, and suggest that because of this hidden mode of operation, something more indirect than and much different from conscious argumentation against white privilege is needed to combat it.

The Water Dancerby Ta-Nehisi Coates

Summary: Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage — and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child — but he is also gifted with a mysterious power.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin Diangelo

Summary: In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Children’s books

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice, by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard; illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Summary: After discussing the police shooting of a local black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates.

The Secret River, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Summary: A Depression-era story set in Florida about a young African American girl. Stella Sung, director of UCF’s Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment (CREATE) and a Pegasus Professor, is working on a new opera with Opera Orlando based on this book.


America After Ferguson, by Public Broadcasting Service

Summary: This PBS town hall meeting, moderated by PBS NewsHour’s former co-anchor and managing editor Gwen Ifill, explores events following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.

Exploring the Emotions of White Racism and Antiracism, by Lisa Spanierman

Summary: Drawing on her research, Spanierman discusses responses to elements of racism, including white guilt, fear and empathy. She offers recommendations for educators and counselors to recognize and respond to powerful race-related emotions among white individuals.


A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry

Summary: Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama was one of the first on Broadway to examine African American life on the cusp of the civil rights era. Walter Younger and his mother, Lena, both yearn to move their family out of Chicago’s Southside ghetto.

An Octoroon, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Summary: An adaptation and reframing of the 1859 antebellum melodrama The Octoroon and centered on a plantation in financial ruins, Jacobs-Jenkins explores social constructs and racial stereotypes and how they interact with identity.

Blood at the Root, by Dominique Morisseau

Summary: A drama based on six black students who were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus. This play examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, and the crises in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the shattering state of black family life.

Facing Our Truth: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race, and Privilege by various artists

Summary: Six playwrights wrote 10-minute plays on the topic of Trayvon Martin, race and/or privilege. Facing Our Truth’s purpose is to incite serious discussion in our collective communities around these urgent issues.

Fires in the Mirror, by Anna Deveare Smith

Summary: Derived from interviews with a wide range of people who experienced or observed New York’s 1991 Crown Heights racial riots, Fires in the Mirror is as distinguished a work of commentary on black-white tensions as it is a work of drama.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow isby Ntozake Shange

Summary: This play tells the stories of seven women of color using poetry, song and movement. With unflinching honesty and emotion, each woman voices her survival story of having to exist in a world shaped by sexism and racism.

Hands Up: 6 Playwrights: 6 Testaments by Nathan James, Nathan Yunberberg, Idris Goodwin, Glenn Gordon, Dennis Allen II, Eric Holmes

Summary: A collection of monologues by African-American playwrights featuring a wide range of perspectives on being a black man in America in the 21st century.

Kill Move Paradise, by James Ijames

Summary: This play tells the story of Isa, Daz, Grif and Tiny, four black men who find themselves stuck in a cosmic waiting room in the afterlife. It is inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women and depicts these men as symbols of life and hope.

Sweat, by Lynn Nottage

Summary: This Pulitzer-Prize winner explores the tensions rising in a group of friends who feel invisible in the midst of layoffs at a factory in Reading, Pennsylvania, during the economic recession.

Topdog/Underdog, Suzan-Lori Parks

Summary: Topdog/Underdog tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names, given to them as a joke, foretell a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by their past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

Theatre for Young Audiences

Augusta and Noble, by Carlos Murillo

Summary: Gabi has lived her whole life amid a vibrant Latino community in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. But she is starting high school across the city at Northside College Prep, where she is quickly exposed to new people and possibilities. Told in English peppered with Spanish, this play for young audiences celebrates the rich history and resilience of the many immigrants who call Chicago home.

Home on the Mornin’ Train, by Kim Hines

Summary: A group of Jewish children in hiding during the Holocaust read a book called “Following the Drinking Gourd: A Negro Slave Girl’s Escape to Freedom.”  They soon realize how their life is similar to the lives of the American slaves in the book trying to escape to freedom.