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Loyalty Bookstores’ anti-racist reading list

As massive protests over police brutality against black people—people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others in the last decade alone—continue across the country, Loyalty Bookstores has a clear message for readers: “Do the work.” That phrase sits atop a thoughtful, dense, genre-spanning anti-racist reading list put together by the self-identified “book nerds” at the black-owned twin bookshops in Petworth and Silver Spring. The list includes clear guides like Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race and expands into contemporary fiction, memoir, children’s literature, scholarship, and foundational texts from the last century. Readers can visit older works like The Autobiography of Malcolm X or The Fire Next Time, then move into critically lauded accounts of contemporary black life like Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir or Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick: And Other Essays. The list centers black authors but includes contributions from other people of color, like Cathy Park Hong and her recent Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. Young people and adults can learn from Kendi and Jason Reynolds’ Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a collaborative “remix” of the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning. You can read some of the thorough histories on the list to better understand how racism shaped our world and continues to impact daily life today—or, in other words, do the work. The list is available at bookshop.org. Prices vary. —Emma Sarappo