10 readings on social justice recommended

This list of 10 readings on social justice is a suggested guide for those interested in bringing a focus on equality, tolerance, community, empathy and other values consistent with a humane approach to building a more just and fair society.

1. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Author: Isabel Wilkerson. Chronicles one of the untold stories of America. The decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities.

2. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. Author: Amy Ellis Nutt. Inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines. One of two identical twins, Nicole persists in her struggles within an unwelcoming society.

3. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. Author: Arthur Miller. The witchcraft trials of 1682 resulted in socially sanctioned violence. Miller turned the story into a powerful parable about McCarthyism.   

4. A People’s History of the United States. Author: Howard Zinn. The history of America from the viewpoint of factory workers, Native Americans, civil rights advocates, the working poor and the migrant worker et al. The battles of angry men and women against corporate and government tyranny.

5. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Author: Martin Luther King Jr.  The letter written from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama defends the strategy of non-violence resistance to moderate white pastors condemning a protest march.

6. Sermon on the Mount. Matthew Chapters 5-7. These chapters from the New Testament describe the most important teachings of Jesus Christ including the Beatitudes. The call to humility, peacemaking, and righteousness with a condemnation of greed and hypocrisy.

7. In Dubious Battle. Author: John Steinbeck. A fast-paced novel of social unrest. Set in California apple country where a strike by migrant workers against rich landowners spins out of control.

8. All Quiet on the Western Front. Author: Erich Maria Remarque. A young German soldier during WWI observes the horror of war. As the war plods on the character of Paul Baumer vows to fight against the principles of hate that war depends on.

9. Cider House Rules. Author: John Irving. Set in rural Maine in the first half of the 20th century, this novel finds Dr. Walter Larch as the founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St.Cloud’s. The story defines the controversy surrounding abortion.

10. The Second Amendment: A Biography. Author: Michael Waldman. The life story of the Second Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights. Waldman argues that the views on the Amendment are driven by political advocacy.

The list of Ten Essential Readings on Social Justice was created by the group Advocates for Social Justice (ASJ) based in Northwest Ohio. The readings were chosen for their ability to  generate critical thinking and discussion on important social and political topics.

We encourage you to send comments on any of the works and to make suggestions for other readings. ASJ can be reached at AdvocatesforSocialJustice748@gmail.com

Advocates for Social Justice