The Reading List: Bay Area Authors on Racial Justice and Equity


Looking for a book to read? This is an ever-evolving list of them.

Written by Bay Area authors, the texts and compilations featured here center racial justice and equity and come recommended by museum staff and our wider community. We originally published this compilation while working from home during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order in July 2020, but it’s always growing. Add to it by sending suggestions via social media @sfmoma or through email at digital@sfmoma.org. We continue to turn to these titles for much-needed perspective as we grapple with inequities in our institution, community, city, and country.

Black Youth Rising: Activism & Radical Healing in Urban America

Shawn Ginwright, a professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and a senior research associate at San Francisco State University, details the concept of “radical healing” in this text, while also offering insight and expertise for community institutions serving Black communities.

“The Black Experience in Graphic Design: 1968 and 2020”

Featuring archival material and interviews from Print magazine, this piece in Letterform Archive juxtaposes the experiences of Black graphic designers in 1968 with those working in 2020. What’s changed? Not much when it comes to institutional inclusion and inequality, concludes Richmond-based designer Maurice Woods, founder of Inneract Project. Also from Letterform Archive is this archival dig into The Black Panther’s publishing history, featuring local voices.

“A Brief History of Institutional Racism in San Francisco’s Land Use Choices—and the Impacts That Remain Today”

Did you know that, in 1915, the city of Berkeley pioneered single-family zoning, a policy that effectively shut out Black families from predominantly white neighborhoods? Written by Todd David, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Coalition, and Stevon Cook, a commissioner with the San Francisco Unified School District, this text functions as an accessible introduction to types of land-use policies that have caused or exacerbated segregation within the Bay Area.

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Written by Bay Area author Dr. Monique W. Morris, this book chronicles the experiences of Black girls who are pushed through, and then pushed out of, an education system rife with inequity. Morris also penned Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century and numerous works focused on the juvenile justice system.

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

Berkeley-based author Jeff Chang first published this prescient essay collection in 2016. In “On Cultural Equity,” excerpted by the Walker Art Center here, the author asks, “Who has the power to shape culture?,” and, in the process, offers a sobering assessment of inequality in cultural institutions.

Reads for Visions of Black Futurity, by Babette Thomas

The Oakland storyteller created a selection of text, media, and audio to accompany the latest season of Raw Material, focused on mining archives and elevating the stories of Black Bay Area pioneers.

Recommendations from our social media community:

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