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Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA)

Book Selections

cover of Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

September 2021

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

September 29, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

Call Number: E185.2 .B545 2008

Synopsis: "A sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today. From the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II, under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these "debts," prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery."

 

cover of Queer injustice: the criminalization of LGBT people in the United States

October 2021

Queer (in)justice : the Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock

October 27, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

Call Number: KF4754.5 .M64 2011

Synopsis: "Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences--as "suspects," defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes--like "gleeful gay killers," "lethal lesbians," "disease spreaders," and "deceptive gender benders"--to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities. A groundbreaking work that turns a "queer eye" on the criminal legal system, Queer (In)Justice illuminates and challenges the many ways in which queer lives are criminalized, policed, and punished."

cover of The new Jim Crow mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

November 2021

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

November 17, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

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Call Number: HV9950 .A437

Synopsis: "Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S."Now, ten years after it was first published, The New Press is proud to issue a tenth-anniversary edition with a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today."

cover of Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

December 2021

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

December 15, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

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"With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.
In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole."

Book Cover Image of  Just Mercy

May 2021

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice of Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

May 26, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

Join Us: https://muw.zoom.us/j/98443356962

Synopsis: The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

Jerico Brown, the tradition, poetry collection

April 2021

The Tradition by Jericho Brown 

April 28, 2021 at 12 p.m. 

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Join us: https://muw.zoom.us/j/96629726360 

Synopsis: "The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill."

invisible women

March 2021

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

March 31, 2021 at 12 p.m.

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Synopsis: "Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in Invisible Women​, diving into women’s lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and sparkling intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world."

Kindred, book cover

February 2021

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy (Adapter), Octavia E. Butler (Author), and John Jennings (Illustrator)

February 24, 2021 at 12 p.m.

Join us: https://muw.zoom.us/j/92111844833 

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Synopsis: "Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him."

Before our discussion, you may preview the topics we will discuss.  

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

January 2021

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

January 27, 2021 at 12 p.m.

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Synopsis: "Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day . . . She points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity."

The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday

November 2020

The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday

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Synopsis: "The Way to Rainy Mountain recalls the journey of Tai-me, the sacred Sun Dance doll, and of Tai-me’s people in three unique voices: the legendary, the historical, and the contemporary. It is also the personal journey of N. Scott Momaday, who on pilgrimage to the grave of his Kiowa grandmother, traversed the same route taken by his forebears and in so doing confronted his Kiowa heritage."

Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi by John F. Marszalek III

October 2020

Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi by John F. Marszalek III

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Synopsis: "In Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi, John F. Marszalek III shares conversations with same-sex couples living in small-town and rural Mississippi. In the first book of its kind to focus on Mississippi, couples tell their stories of how they met and fell in love, their decisions on whether or not to marry, and their experiences as sexual minorities with their neighbors, families, and churches. Their stories illuminate a complicated relationship between many same-sex couples and their communities, influenced by southern culture, religion, and family norms."

Author talk: John F. Marszalek III spoke at the book club meeting in October.  View the recording.