Evidence of the past appears in many forms. We find history in manuscript records, old newspapers, artifacts in a plowed field. But history is also alive in our daily lives—the family recipe that’s never been committed to paper, the church homecoming that’s older than the church building itself, the children’s rhyme chanted with each swing of a jump rope.
As Virginians reckon with the impact of racism on our society, we’re also reckoning with history—some of it buried, some of it in plain sight. Where do our ideas about race come from? How has the past shaped our public institutions? What are the stories we’ve told ourselves about the history of race and racism, and whose stories have been left untold in the process?
In this post, we’ve highlighted nonfiction books from the Library of Virginia’s collection that attempt to tackle these questions. This list is not a comprehensive history of race in our state. Instead, it attempts to serve as a jumping-off point for those striving to understand how Virginians have shaped and been shaped by a history marked by colonialism, slavery, and white supremacy—as well as by acts of private and public resistance.
(Hover over the book covers to see title and author, and click to go to the Library of Virginia catalog record).
- African American and Native American Research Guides (Library of Virginia)
- Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Research Guides (Library of Virginia)
- Civic Conversation Series (Library of Virginia)
- Confronting Racism: Books, Films and More Resources (Arlington Public Library)
- Spotlight on Racism: Books to Stop Hate and Encourage Healing (Loudoun County Public Library)
- An Anti-Racist Reading List for Teens (Richmond Public Library)
- The African American Experience: Fight For Your Rights (Jefferson-Madison Regional Library)
-Rebecca Schneider, Senior Reference Librarian