4. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
In this non-fiction work, Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author, examines systemic inequality in the United States. Called an “instant American classic” by the New York Times, the book takes a hard look at the use of violence and oppression throughout history and how that has impacted America as it stands today. Available to purchase here.
5. Black Futures by Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew
View this post on Instagram
“Hands down, ‘Black Futures’ is the coffee table book of the year,” says Alicia Maule, Innocence Project’s director of digital engagement. The book, a 500-page multimedia anthology is a work of art that brought together hundreds of Black creators, activists, chefs and more to answer the question: ‘What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?’ “This is a book you’ll be proud to hold and showcase,” says Mx. Maule. Available to purchase here.
If you’re interested in justice reform and wrongful conviction, these are just a few more must-reads our staff recommends.
6. Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
This Pulitzer Prize winner is a “must-read” recommendation from our new executive director, Christina Swarn. Devil in the Grove tells the story of Thurgood Marshall’s defense of four innocent Black teenagers who were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the rape of a white woman in Florida in 1949. Available to purchase here.
7. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Recommended by our Sarah Chu, our senior advisor on forensic science policy, The Condemnation of Blackness, sheds light on how crime statistics and research have been used to create the myth of Black criminality. “This book is important for understanding how deeply the architecture of our criminal legal system is tied to painting Black people as inferior or criminal and shows us how well meaning people were complicit in advancing those false ideas,” Ms. Chu says. Available to purchase here.
8. Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair by Danielle Sered
Innocence Project Executive Director Christina Swarns recommends Until We Reckon, which she calls an “important and fascinating read.” The book considers how draconian sentences often fail to address the needs of survivors of violent crime, and takes a look at approaches to ending mass incarceration that will also increase public safety. Available to purchase here.
9. Solitary by Albert Woodfox
Publishing this memoir has been at the top of Albert Woodfox’s list of dreams for many years. But Innocence Project Chief Program Strategy Officer Carine Williams, who represented Mr. Woodfox for eight years, said he was adamant that he would not write while incarcerated.
“He believed the grief and grime of lockdown would corrupt his storytelling. He said, ‘I don’t know how but it’ll get into my words,’” she recalled. Mr. Woodfox was finally freed in 2016, and three years later, he published his memoir. “All I can now say is: It was worth the wait. If Louisiana tried to bury Albert — and they did — this book is a gorgeous bouquet of blooms from the man no one knew was a seed,” Ms. Williams said.
Solitary is available to purchase here.
10. Alizah’s Story: I Stutter by Shoshanah K. Hobson
Written by Shoshanah Hobson, the Innocence Project’s very own Events and Special Projects Manager, Alizah’s Story is an inspiring children’s book about a third grader who starts to stutter and learns that what makes her different also makes her powerful. Available to purchase here.
11. Never Silent by Valencia Daniels
Poetry lovers must check out Never Silent, written by Innocence Project case management database administrator Valencia Craig. This stunning e-book of poetry touches on themes of race and inequality and is available to purchase here.