Social Justice: An Educational Journey

We find ourselves today in what feels like a very important moment in history.

As the worldwide racial reckoning harkens back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, many of us who lived through that movement have been reflecting on the progress we have made since then and yet confronted with the monumental work that still needs to be done.

Road Scholar acknowledges and condemns the pervasive, systemic racism that exists across all corners of our society, and we stand in solidarity with the modern movement towards equal rights and justice for all.

  

Social justice (noun)

A concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society, as measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.

Social justice is a value that Road Scholar endeavors to uphold and exemplify across the organization and our community. We at Road Scholar believe learning and understanding can change the world, and we hope you join with us in that belief as we work together in uniting our world through the power of learning.

As so many of us are isolated in our homes, we cannot be together to learn about civil rights in person. With that in mind, we have created this space to act as a virtual classroom — a collection of resources curated by our community of expert educators across the U.S. on topics of social justice, from mass incarceration to Japanese internment. We hope that, as part of your own personal commitment to social justice, you will explore this academic syllabus on a self-guided educational journey that we all find ourselves on, towards a kinder, fairer, brighter world.

This is an ongoing and dynamic project, and this page will grow and change frequently. If you have any ideas or feedback, please email us at socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

Find race resources in other languages.

Learning to Look Within Ourselves: A Message from Road Scholar President & CEO

“Racism and prejudice are hidden deep within us – so deeply ingrained we are often not aware of our own unconscious biases. Learning to see prejudice in ourselves, in our own thinking and our own behavior and perceptions, can help create the equal justice we all desperately want to see in America.

“Several months ago, I was profoundly impacted by the book “Biased, Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PHD. This book awakened my understanding of implicit hidden bias in the world and within myself. What I learned significantly altered my interaction with the world. I hope that you will join me in an effort to not only be a part of national and global change, but change within your own hearts and minds.

“We look forward to the day when there is justice for all in America and around the world.”


Sincerely,
James Moses

Diverse Learning with Road Scholar

Road Scholar is commited to telling diverse stories and histories in all of our programs, but here are just a few programs with a strong focus on learning about diverse groups, histories and cultures. Get a front row seat for one of our virtual lectures, or explore opportunities to learn with us on in-person programs in the future.

Multi-Day Adventures Online

One-Hour Online Lectures

Support the Development of Our Civil Rights Programming

Road Scholar’s civil rights programs have provided older adults meaningful opportunities to learn about and reflect upon the civil rights movement of the past to better understand the movement of today. Your gift can help us develop even more civil rights and social justice programming, both in-person and online, and continue to look for other ways to contribute to a more just society.

Give to Social Justice Projects

Road Scholar Seeking Diverse Scholarship Applicants

Road Scholar is seeking more diversity among our financial aid applicants.

Are you a lifelong learner of color who could benefit from financial assistance? Learn more about our financial aid and apply here.

We are also seeking non-profits or organizations who may have access to a network of diverse potential scholarship applicants to share information about our financial aid opportunities.

If you are a current participant who has contacts at an organziation that you could connect us with, please email socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

 

 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture encourages you to start with personal reflection:

  • When were you first aware of your race?
  • What do you remember from childhood about how you made sense of human differences? What confused you?
  • What childhood experiences did you have with friends or adults who were different from you in some way?
  • How, if ever, did any adult give you help thinking about racial differences?

“Talking about race, although hard, is necessary.”

Learn more

Unit 1: The History of Racism in America, an Introduction

These resources are intended to provide a basis or a refresher course on the history of racism, racial injustice and Black history in the United States.

Black History Milestones: Timeline
Web Article | The History Channel
Start your journey with a brief review of some major events in African American history to provide a base and context for our continued exploration. Read

A History of Racial Injustice
Event Library | Equal Justice Initiative
This high-level overview of important events will help you understand what has led us to the racial moment we find ourselves in today. Read

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Non-Fiction Book | Ibram X. Kendi, Professor & Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University
“In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.” Buy from the Bookshop

Confronting Prejudice: How to Protect Yourself and Help Others
Web Resource | Pepperdine University's Master of Psychology Program
The purpose of this resource is to educate readers on the prevalence of prejudice and implicit bias in society, including information about what marginalized groups are most likely to be harmed by prejudice. The resource features information about how one can be an ally and an advocate for change, as well as how people experiencing discrimination can build resilience against these types of behaviors. Read

Assignment
Pick a topic from this list that you haven’t heard of or know little about and spend some time researching it online or through books. Create a visual timeline, write a short paper or blog post and/or create a work of art based on what you learned. Work your way through the list as you continue your educational journey.
What should we add to the list? Email us at socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

Unit 2: American History, Race, and Prison

Academic resources on topics of inequalities and systemic racism in the American justice system, criminalization of African Americans, the U.S. prison boom, and mass incarceration.

13th
Documentary | Netflix & Kandoo Films
In this thought-provoking film, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom. Watch it on Netflix

The Racial Geography of Mass Incarceration
Web Report | Prison Policy Initiative
This report uses data from the 2010 Census to compare the race and ethnicity of incarcerated people to that of the people in the surrounding county to highlight the inequalities embedded in the institution of mass incarceration. Read

Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in U.S. Incarceration
Journal Article | American Sociological Review
This article examine changes in inequality in imprisonment over the past 25 years by calculating lifetime risks of imprisonment for black and white men at different levels of education using administrative, survey, and census data. Learn how the risks of incarceration are highly stratified by education. Read

Reimagining Prison
Web Report | Vera Institute of Justice
This report brings together voices and ideas of corrections chiefs, formerly incarcerated people, scholars, thought leaders from across the political spectrum, and members of the public, along with policy, academic, and practical research, to suggest new theories and practices for the U.S. prison system based on a singular foundational value of human dignity. Read

Where Do We Go from Here? Mass Incarceration and the Struggle for Civil Rights
Web Report | Economic Policy Institute
This is part of a series of reports from the Economic Policy Institute outlining the steps needed to fully achieve each of the goals of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Read

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Non-Fiction Book | Michelle Alexander, Civil Rights Lawyer, Advocate & Legal Scholar
This New York Times Bestseller inspired a nationwide social movement for criminal justice reform. Alexander explores how the War on Drugs contributed the expansion of incarceration and how the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control. Buy from the Bookshop

Race, Incarceration, and American Values
Non-Fiction Book | Glenn C. Loury, Professor of Social Sciences at Brown University
Renowned economoist, a Stanford law professor, a French sociologist and Harvard philosophy professor discuss the American prison system in a context of race. Buy from the Bookshop

Race to Incarcerate
Non-Fiction Book | Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project
This seminal book on race, class and the criminal justice system explores three decades of prison expansion in America. Buy from the Bookshop

Unit 3: African Canadians: Slavery & Racism in Canada

Recommended by Rachel B. Zellars, MA, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Social Justice and Community Studies, Saint Mary's University: Canada

Most Americans don’t know much about the history of African American enslavement in Canada. Learn about African Nova Scotians, the original Black people in Canada whose history spans pre- and post-slavery, and the legacy that slavery has left behind in Canada.

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present

Non-Fiction Book | Robyn Maynard
Delving behind Canada's veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, “Policing Black Lives” traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada. Read

Slavery, geography and empire in nineteenth-century marine landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica

Non-Fiction Book | Charmaine a. Nelson
Through an analysis of prints, illustrated travel books and maps, Charmaine Nelson draws a connection between two significant British island colonies, arguing that the separation of these colonies was a retroactive fabrication designed in part to rid Canada of its deeply colonial history as an integral part of Britain's global trading network. The book explores the central role of geography and its racialized representation as landscape art in imperial conquest. Read

Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815–1860
Non-Fiction Book | Harvey Amani Whitfield
Black refugees arrived in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812 with little in common but their desire for freedom. Harvey Amani Whitfield’s study reconstructs the lives and history of a sizeable but neglected group of African Americans by placing their history within the framework of free black communities in New England and Nova Scotia during the nineteenth century. Read

North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes
Non-Fiction Book | Harvey Amani Whitfield
Many Canadians believe their nation fell on the right side of history in harbouring escaped slaves from the United States. In fact, in the wake of the American Revolution, many Loyalist families brought slaves with them when they settled in the Maritime colonies of British North America. Once there, slaves used their traditions of survival, resistance, and kinship networks to negotiate their new reality. Harvey Amani Whitfield’s book, the first on slavery in the Maritimes, is a startling corrective to the enduring and triumphant narrative of Canada as a land of freedom at the end of the Underground Railroad. Read

Racism, Eh?: A Critical Inter-disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada
Non-Fiction Book | edited by Charmaine Nelson, Camille Antoinette
"Racism, Eh?” is the first publication that examines racism within the broad Canadian context. This anthology brings together some of the visionaries who are seeking to illuminate the topics of race and racism in Canada through the analysis of historical and contemporary issues, which address race and racism as both material and psychic phenomena. Read

The Skin We're In
Non-Fiction Book | Desmond Cole
In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis. Both Cole's activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book. Read

Unit 4: Islam & Islamophobia in America

Recommended by Road Scholar Kirsten Lennox, Peace & Conflict Studies and Arabic at UMass Lowell

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Islam in the United States has been a controversial topic in politics and news — focusing on identity and integration of new Muslims to the United States. Although the group is portrayed as a new wave of immigrants, the history of Islam in the United States is integrated in over 200 years of American history. Learn about the fascinating story of the first Muslim community in the US, explore how Islamaphobia has affected Muslim Americans in the 21st century and get a glimpse at the diversity of Muslim American youth and their impact on their communities.

The Muslim-American Muddle
Online Journal Essay | Peter Skerry
In his in-depth article “The Muslim-American Muddle” from National Affairs, Professor Peter Skerry examines the identity and crises of Muslim-Americans. While already dealing with being stereotyped by non-Muslim Americans as terrorists, Muslim-Americans must also navigate the many ethnic divisions within their own population. A new approach, argues Professor Skerry, is necessary to move forward. Read

The Secret Life of Muslims
Documentary Series | Vox
This 2017 Emmy-nominated series explores the Muslim-American identity first-person, using humor and empathy to subvert stereotypes and reveal the truth about Muslim Americans: fascinating careers, unexpected talents and inspiring accomplishments. Watch

A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order
Non-Fiction Book | Kambiz GhaneaBassiri
Muslims began arriving in the New World long before the rise of the Atlantic slave trade. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri's fascinating book traces the history of Muslims in the United States and their different waves of immigration and conversion across five centuries, through colonial and antebellum America, through world wars and civil rights struggles, to the contemporary era. The book tells the often deeply moving stories of individual Muslims and their lives as immigrants and citizens within the broad context of the American religious experience, showing how that experience has been integral to the evolution of American Muslim institutions and practices. Read

Islamophobia: Understanding Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the West
Online Study | Gallup
Islamophobia existed in premise before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but it increased in frequency and notoriety during the past decade. This Gallup study serves as a snapshot of opinion and thought displayed by people from multiple countries, regions, and communities — findings that chronicle perceptions associated with Islamophobia globally. Read

An American Mosque
Documentary | David Washburn
An American Mosque is a film about Islam in America, religious intolerance and the interfaith response to an historic hate-crime. It tells the story of a mosque in California that was burned to the ground in 1994, the first arson to destroy a mosque in US history. The film's characters respond publicly to the crime, speaking passionately about their hope and heartbreak, as well as their continued faith in religious freedom for all Americans. An American Mosque frames this small town story as representative of a larger struggle to protect America's core values. Rent

What is the Truth About American Muslims?
Online Publication | Interfaith Alliance & Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center
This publication provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions about religious freedom and American Muslims. Our purpose here is to inform Americans about the vast majority of their fellow citizens who are Muslim. In doing so, we seek to uphold our shared commitment to religious freedom and contribute to a climate of understanding and respect among Americans of all faiths and none. Read

Islam in America: Rewind
Documentary | Al Jazeera News Media
Rageh Omaar embarked on a unique journey across the United States to reveal the truly surprising, counter-intuitive and little-known world of Islam in America. From the major conurbations of New York City and Chicago, to the small town hinterlands of Texas and the west, Al Jazeera pulled together the history of Islam in the U.S. and painted a vivid portrait of a vibrant, diverse and growing group of followers of Islam that is unlike any Muslim community in the world. Watch

American Muslims 101: Resources for Interfaith Leaders, Community Educators + Allies
Online Resources | Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
In today’s climate of division, the work of outreach educators who inform the public about American Muslims is vital to unity and pluralism in the United States. This toolkit offers those of all faiths and no faith working to educate their communities about Americans who are Muslim resources to strengthen their work. You’ll find educational handouts and videos, relevant research, and useful reports and articles to empower you take what you learn and share that knowledge with those who need it most. Read

Unit 5: Intro to Native American Liberation in America

Recommended by Elena Junes, educator, Group Leader and member of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people. But the history of these people has been almost completely left out of our history books. Study the works of Native historians as you discover American history from the point of view of its original inhabitants, and gain a better understanding of the struggles that Native Americans across the country are experiencing today.

Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
Non-Fiction Book | Vine Deloria Jr.
Told from a humorously ironic, Indian point of view, this manifesto deals with U.S. race relations, federal bureaucracies, Christian churches and social scientists. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States: Revisioning History
Non-Fiction Book | Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
For the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life
Non-Fiction Book | Winona LaDuke
This thoughtful, in-depth account of Native struggles against environmental and cultural degradation features chapters on the Seminoles, the Anishinaabeg, the Innu, the Northern Cheyenne, and the Mohawks, among others. Filled with inspiring testimonies of struggles for survival, each page of this volume speaks forcefully for self-determination and community. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Red Nation Rising: From Bordertown Violence to Native Liberation
Non-Fiction Book | David Correia (Author), Jennifer Nez Denetdale (Author), Nick Estes (Author), Melanie K. Yazzie (Author), Brandon Benallie (Foreword), Radmilla Cody (Foreword)
Red Nation Rising analyzes and explains the violent dynamics of “bordertowns”: white-dominated towns and cities that exist at the borders of current-day reservation boundaries, which separates the territory of sovereign Native nations from lands claimed by the United States. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
Non-Fiction Book | Nick Estes
In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century. Water Protectors knew this battle for native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anticolonial struggle would continue. In “Our History Is the Future,” Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance (Indigenous Americas)
Non-Fiction Book | Leanne Betasamosake Simpson 
Across North America, Indigenous acts of resistance have in recent years opposed the removal of federal protections for forests and waterways in Indigenous lands, halted the expansion of tar sands extraction and the pipeline construction at Standing Rock, and demanded justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women. This book explores Indigenous political resurgence as a practice rooted in uniquely Indigenous theorizing, writing, organizing and thinking. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Assignment
Where do live? What is your hometown? Do you know who the original caretakers of that place were? Study the Tribal Nations Map to discover the names of the original inhabitants of the area you have lived or now live. Spend some time researching it online or through books. Write a short paper or blog post and/or create a work of art based on what you learned.

Diversify your bookshelf! Check out our booklist of fiction, nonfiction and poetry by Native American authors.

Unit 6: An Intro to LGBTQ Studies

Recommended by Road Scholar Kirsten Lennox, Peace & Conflict Studies and Arabic at UMass Lowell

Though LGBTQ+ people have been living in the U.S. and around the world since time immemorial, the Stonewall Riots of 1969 thrust gay rights into the forefront of the national dialogue. From this historic uprising, to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, to the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, learn a little bit about LGBTQ history through this collection of academic papers, web articles, documentaries and books. Plus, meet just a few of the iconic LGBTQ figures from American history, and study the intersections of sexuality, gender identity, race and disability.

A Queer History of the United States
Narrated Non-Fiction Book on CD | Michael Bronski
It's often easy to believe that LGBTQ communities have only begun to appear in the last few decades. But even a cursory look into history will illuminate the queer communities that have always existed. Bronski's history of the United States helps shed light on just a few of those communities, starting from Columbus's arrival in the Americas. Buy the CD & support Road Scholar!

From GI Joe to GI Jane: Christine Jorgensen’s Story
Web Article | The National WWII Museum
In the early 1950s, WWII veteran Christine Jorgensen became the first American transgender woman to attain fame for having sex reassignment surgery. Her story has influenced many others and helped redefine gender identity. Read

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government
Non-Fiction Book | David K. Johnson
With the help of declassified documents and interview with military officials, David Johnson argues that Senator Joseph McCarthy was just as guilty of promoting anti-Communism paranoia as he was inspiring policies that considered homosexuality a threat to national security. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

A Movement on the Verge: The Spark of Stonewall
Academic Paper | Tiffany Renee Nelson
Read this award-winning academic paper, which concentrates on the Stonewall Riots and the formation of the modern gay and lesbian liberation movement in the United States. Focusing on the 1960s-1980s, learn about the formation of organizations devoted to the LGBT community and gay rights, in addition to marches that took place to raise awareness. Read

The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk
Non-Fiction Book | Randy Shilts
Known as "The Mayor of Castro Street" even before he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk's personal and political life is a story full of personal tragedies and political intrigues, assassinations at City Hall, massive riots in the streets, the miscarriage of justice, and the consolidation of gay power and gay hope. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

We Were Here
Documentary | David Weissman & Bill Weber
We Were Here documents the arrival in San Francisco of what was then called the "Gay Plague" in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound personal and community issues raised by the AIDS epidemic, as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed. Rent on Amazon Prime or Watch Clips on PBS

The History of Gay Marriage
Web Article | The History Channel
In the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, making gay marriage legal throughout America. The ruling was a culmination of decades of struggles, setbacks and victories along the road to full marriage equality in the United States. Learn about the history of same-sex marriage bans and the push for change. Read

How Gay Marriage Became a Constitutional Right
Web Article | The Atlantic | Molly Ball
Learn the untold story of the improbable campaign that finally tipped the U.S. Supreme Court. Read

Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution
Non-Fiction Book | Susan Stryker
Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

A Secret Love
Documentary | Netflix
Amid shifting times, two women kept their decades-long love a secret. But coming out later in life comes with its own set of challenges. Watch it on Netflix or See the Trailer on YouTube

Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability
Non-Fiction Book | Robert McRuer
Both disability studies and queer theory are centrally concerned with how bodies, pleasures and identities are represented as "normal" or as abject, but Crip Theory is the first book to analyze thoroughly the ways in which these interdisciplinary fields inform each other. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology
Non-Fiction Book | E. Patrick Johnson
While over the past decade a number of scholars have done significant work on questions of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered identities, this volume is the first to collect this groundbreaking work and make black queer studies visible as a developing field of study in the United States. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Unit 7: An Intro to Latinx Studies

More than 50 million Latinx people live in the United States today, making them the largest minority group in America. And in a matter of decades, Latinx people will comprise a third of the American population. To understand the changing demographics of our country and consider how that evolution will affect our society, learn about the history of Latino Civil Rights and discrimination in the U.S. and read some studies and research on the development of the American Latinx identity.

Requested by Mary V. from Peterborough, New Hampshire, Road Scholar Class of '14
What topic would you like us to cover next? Send your ideas to socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

Latino Civil Rights Timeline, 1903 to 2006
Historic Timeline | Learning for Justice
Designed for students, this timeline covers the history of Latino Civil Rights in a brief, digestible format that provides a high-level overview to get you started on your Latino studies journey. Plus, explore more resources and lessons from this educational website through this portal. See the Timeline

A history of anti-Hispanic bigotry in the United States
Web Article | The Washington Post
A quick overview of the harmful views and stereotypes throughout American history that have led to the Latino discrimination of the current moment. Read 

The Brutal History of Anti-Latino Discrimination in America
Web Article | The History Channel
Read a brief overview of some of the gravest injustices that Spanish-speaking citizens have faced throughout American history, from School segregation to lynchings and mass deportations. Read

Latino Americans
Documentary | David Belton, Sonia Fritz
LATINO AMERICANS is a PBS documentary series that chronicles the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos from the 1500's to present day, relying on historical accounts and personal experiences to vividly tell the stories of early settlement, conquest and immigration; of tradition and reinvention; and of anguish and celebration, from the millions of people who come to the U.S. from Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico and countries in Central and South America. It is the story of the gradual construction of a new American identity that connects and empowers millions of people today.

Racism and the Latino Identity in America, 1910-1970
Research Study | Cooper J. Smith (Eastern Washington University)
This research paper uses peer reviewed journals and scholarly articles to analyze how racism directed at Latinos during the twentieth century has affected and shaped the identity of Latino immigrants and Latino Americans, and what role discrimination has played in the evolution of who they are and how it has affected the relationship between their community and that of Anglo Americans. Read

Inventing Latinos: A New Study of American Racism
Non-Fiction Book | Laura E. Gómez
In “Inventing Latinos,” Laura G mez, a leading expert on race, law and society, illuminates the race-making, unmaking and re-making of Latino identity that has spanned centuries, leaving a permanent imprint on how race operates in the United States today. Learn the history of the U.S.’s political role in Latin America and how that has resulted in northward migration over the course of more than a century. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Latinos in American Society
Non-Fiction Book | R uth Enid Zambrana 
In “Latinos in American Society,” Ruth Enid Zambrana brings together the latest research on Latinos in the United States to demonstrate how national origin, age, gender, socioeconomic status and education affect the well-being of families and individuals. By mapping out how these factors result in economic, social and political disadvantage, Zambrana challenges the widespread negative perceptions of Latinos in America and the single story of Latinos in the United States as a monolithic group. Buy the book & support Road Scholar! 

About One-in-Four U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It
Pew Research Study | Luis Noe-Bustamente, Lauren Mora & Mark Hugo Lopez
The term “Latinx” has emerged in recent at the intersection of ethnicity, race and gender. Learn about the history of the term and how and where it is used today. Read 

The New Americans?: Immigration, Protest, and the Politics of Latino Identity
Non-Fiction Book | Heather Silber Mohamed
In 2006, millions of Latinos mobilized in opposition to H.R. 4437, an immigration proposal pending before the US Congress. In her new book, Heather Silber Mohamed suggests that these unprecedented protests marked a turning point for the Latino population -- a point that is even more salient today. In “The New Americans?” Silber Mohamed explores the complexities of the Latino community, particularly as it is united and divided by the increasingly pressing questions of immigration. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Querencia: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland
Non-Fiction Book | Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez
New Mexico has very unique place in Chicanx/Latinx history and culture. This collection of deeply personal reflections and carefully researched studies explores the New Mexico homeland through the experiences and perspectives of Chicanx and indigenous/Gen zaro writers and scholars from across the state. Be inspired and enlightened by these essays and discover the history and belonging that is “querencia.” Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Nación Genízara: Ethnogenesis, Place, and Identity in New Mexico (Querencias Series)
Non-Fiction Book | Moises Gonzales & Enrique R. Lamadrid
Fray Angélico Chávez defined “Genízaro” as the ethnic term given to indigenous people of mixed tribal origins living among the Hispano population in Spanish fashion. They entered colonial society as captives taken during wars with Utes, Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, Navajos and Pawnees. By 1800, Genízaros comprised a third of the population. Many assimilated into Hispano and Pueblo society, but others in the land-grant communities maintained their identity through ritual, self-government and kinship. Today the persistence of Genízaro identity blurs the lines of distinction between Native and Hispanic frameworks of race and cultural affiliation. This book examines the history, cultural evolution and survival of the Genízaro people, covering topics including ethnogenesis, slavery, settlements, poetics, religion, gender, family history and mestizo genetics. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

They Called Me King Tiger: My Struggle for the Land and Our Rights (Hispanic Civil Rights)
Memoir | Reies Lopez Tijerina & Jose Angel Gutierrez
Reies López Tijerina was one of the four acknowledged major leaders of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the only one of the four to have penned his memoirs. “They Called Me King Tiger” tells of the motives and thinking of one of the Chicano Movement’s now-forgotten martyrs — a man who sought justice for those who have been treated like foreigners on their own soil. It reflects Tijerina’s years of research on the issues of land grants and civil rights and his persistent spiritual and political leadership of the disenfranchised descendants of the original colonizers of New Mexico.

Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Hispanic Heritage Booklist
Check out our list of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books by Hispanic writers here.

You can learn more about Latin American culture and history on our educational programs in the Southwest, Mexico and South America!

Unit 8: Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.

The COVID pandemic has brought with it an increase in discrimination, bigotry and hate crimes toward Asian Americans. But this xenophobia and racism is not brand new in the U.S. We have pulled together some resources for you to learn about anti-Asian attitudes and policy in the United States throughout history and today. Find out about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the development of Japanese internment camps, Asian civil rights activism, the gentrification of Chinatown and more.

The long history of racism against Asian Americans in the U.S.
Web Article | PBS New Hour
A brief overview that introduces the Chinese Exclusion Act, internment camps, Asian American civil rights and more.  Read

Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States
Non-Fiction Book | Lon Kurashige
From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Immigration Act of 1924 and Japanese American internment during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. But Lon Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate. This book complicates the exclusion story by examining the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia.  Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II
Non-Fiction Book | Richard Reeves
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed an executive order that forced more than 120,000 Japanese Americans into primitive camps for the rest of war. Their only crime: looking like the enemy. In “Infamy,” acclaimed historian Richard Reeves delivers a sweeping narrative of this atrocity. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama
Non-Fiction Book | Diane C. Fujino
On February 12, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, Yuri Kochiyama cradled Malcolm X in her arms as he died, but her role as a public servant and activist began much earlier than this pivotal public moment. “Heartbeat of Struggle” is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an all-American childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of - and fighter for - human rights. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
Non-Fiction Book | Cathy Park Hong
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative — and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

"At Least You're Not Black": Asian Americans in U.S. Race Relations
Journal Article | Elaine H. Kim
A 1998 article from “Social Justice,” a quarterly peer-reviewed educational journal that seeks to inform theory and praxis on issues of equality and justice.  Read

(You’ll need to sign up for a free JSTOR account)

Resources on the COVID Pandemic and Anti-Asian Discrimination

The yellow peril revisited: the impact of SARS on Chinese and Southeast Asian Communities
Research Article | Carrianne Leung
A collection of narratives that illustrate how Chinese and Southeast/East Asian communities were doubly burdened during the SARS outbreak of 2003, fearing for their own health and well-being, and bearing the stigma of this disease on themselves and their communities.  Read 

The Asian American Response to Black Lives Matter Is Part of a Long, Complicated History
Web Article | TIME
Investigates the complex histories of both anti-Blackness and anti-racist solidarity within the Asian American community, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Read

The Gentrification of Chinatown
Web Article | Kaylen Luu
Between 1990-2010, the population of Chinatown has decreased by seven percent, with its racial demographics showing only the white population of Chinatown experiencing an increase. Learn what that means for these neighborhoods and the Asian Americans who live there.  
Read the Article
Read the Research

Asian Americans
Documentary Series | PBS
This five-part documentary series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, international relations and cultural innovation. It is a timely, clear-eyed look at the vital role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation.
Watch Online
Buy on Amazon

Who is born a US citizen?
Web Article | The Conversation
Learn the history of the U.S.’s relationship with American Samoa and the discussion about whether American Samoans should be granted U.S. citizenship. Read

Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines
Non-Fiction Book | Warwick Anderson
In this groundbreaking history of the role of science and medicine in the American colonization of the Philippines from 1898 through the 1930s, Warwick Anderson describes how American colonizers sought to maintain their health in a foreign environment while exerting control over and "civilizing" a population of seven million people. He traces a transformation in the thinking of colonial doctors and scientists about what was most threatening to the health of white colonists. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

A Study of the Racial and Cultural Experience of South Asian Americans in the United States
Academic Paper | Edith Gnanadass, The Pennsylvania State University
This study explores the relevance of the concept of race in the South Asian American (SAA) experience in the United States using critical race theory and postcolonial theory. By telling the stories of SAAs, this study complicates the conceptualization of race and the black/white binary, and proposes strategies for antiracist praxis.

Resources on “The Model Minority”

Unit 9: Disability Studies

The year 2020 came and went with so many distractions that many historic anniversaries passed us by with little fanfare — including the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by George H.W. Bush on July 26, 2020. Join us as on a journey through the history of the ADA and learn a little bit about Disability discrimination of the past and present.

Requested by Mary E. from Seattle, Washington, Road Scholar Class of '15
What topic would you like us to cover next? Send your ideas to socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

A few articles that will give you some quick overviews to get you into this topic: 

  • A Brief History of the Disability Rights Movement
    Web Article | Anti-Defamation League
    Read
  • ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’: 16 Moments in the Fight for Disability Rights
    Web Article | New York Times
    Read
  • A History of Discrimination and the ADA
    Web Article | Northeast ADA Center
    Read

A Disability History of the United States
Non-Fiction Book | Kim E. Nielsen
Covering the entirety of US history from pre-1492 to the present, A Disability History of the United States pulls from primary-source documents and social histories to retell US history through the eyes, words, and impressions of the people who lived it. Throughout the book, historian and disability scholar Kim E. Nielsen deftly illustrates how concepts of disability have deeply shaped the American experience. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation
Non-Fiction Book | Frieda Zames & Doris Fleischer
A newly updated account of the struggle for disability rights in the U.S. Read

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Documentary | Netflix
A groundbreaking summer camp for teens with disabilities proves so inspiring that a group of its alumni join the radical disability rights movement to advocate for historic legislation changes. Watch on Netflix

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally
Non-Fiction Book | Emily Ladau
An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more inclusive place. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist
Memoir | Judith Heumann
One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Honoring Black History Month: Unsung Heroes of the Disability Rights Movement
Web Article | National Center for Learning Disabilities
This article highlights the stories of Black heroes whose vision, commitment and activism helped advance progress for people with disabilities. From Johnnie Lacy to Chuck Jackson, learn about some incredible advocates who are too often left out of the retelling of history. Read
More on Brad Lomax from the New York Times

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century
Essay Collection | Ed. Alice Wong
Activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people. This anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and the past with hope and love. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!
Share the “Young Adults” Version with your grandkids

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice
Essay Collection | Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Co-Founding the ACLU, Fighting for Labor Rights and Other Helen Keller Accomplishments Students Don't Learn in School
Web Article | Time Magazine
Read about Helen Keller’s life beyond “The Miracle Worker” as you learn about her work as an activist, co-founder of the ACLU, early supporter of the NAACP, and more. Read

I am Disabled: On Identity-First Versus People-First Language
Opinion Web Article | Cara Liebowitz
Cara Liebowitz shares some context on nuance of calling someone a “disabled person” versus a “person with a disability.” Read
Another source on this topic: Identity-First Language

Continued Studies

Find more book recommendations on our Disability Rights & Diversity Book List HERE

Disability Studies Quarterly
Academic Journal
The Disability Studies Quarterly is a multidisciplinary and international journal committed to developing theoretical and practical knowledge about disability and to promoting the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society. Explore the articles and content in this scholarly journal to deepen your disability studies. The journal’s most recent Volume 41, No 3 from 2021 covers topics related to disability and COVID-19. Explore

Unit 10: Diversity Outdoors

Recommended by Lauren Gay, Creator of Misadventures of Outdoorsy Diva

Does “Mother Nature” discriminate? A recent study done by the national parks showed what many people of color already knew: most of the visitors, rangers and volunteers are white. Why are people of color less likely to take advantage of the national parks or take part in outdoor activities? Explore the history of racism in America’s outdoor spaces, learn about the implications of exploring the outdoors while black or brown, read about experiences of people of color who do enjoy the outdoors, and find out where you can travel to learn about Black history in America’s national parks.

America’s Great White Outdoors
Video News Report | ABC News
America’s National Parks and public lands have long been places of refuge in times of turmoil. But new government data, first shared with ABC News, shows people of color are less likely to take advantage of the Great Outdoors. Devin Dwyer reports on U.S. national parks facing an existential crisis over a lack of diversity among visitors. Watch on ABCnews.go.com

Made for You and Me
Podcast Episode | NPR’s Code Switch
There’s a stereotype that people of color do not “go there” when it comes to the outdoors. But, there are actually numbers from the National Park Service to back this up. And there are real reasons, both historical and contemporary, that can make stepping outside in your free time while black or brown a politically charged move. At the same time, there are some really interesting organizations and individuals pushing the boundaries of what "being outdoorsy" looks like. Join hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji and Adrian Florido for the Code Switch Podcast, Episode 2: Made For You And Me, as they explore what it means to be a person of color outdoors. 20-minute listen. Listen on NPR.org

Black Faces, White Spaces
Non-Fiction Book | Carolyn Finney
Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Jogging While Black (Podcast) & Camping While Black (Blog Post)
Podcast Episode & Blog Post | Outdoorsy Diva
Lauren Gay is a professional traveler, content creator, and self-proclaimed “Outdoorsy Diva.” She is also a Black woman and an avid supporter and advocate for encouraging African Americans to experience the great outdoors. Read her perspectives on what it’s like to often be the only person of color in outdoor spaces. Gay discusses the implications of exploring and traveling in predominately white spaces, the inherent dangers, and the impact that tragedies like this have on black Americans, particularly as it relates to the ability to feel safe while enjoying outdoor recreation. Read the Blog or Listen to the Podcast

People of Color and Their Constraints to National Parks Visitation
Research Paper | David Scott & KangJae Jerry Lee
The United States population is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse. More than one-third of all Americans can be classified as a person of color, and the proportion of ethnic and racial minorities is projected to increase in the coming years. Despite this population change, data suggests that people of color visit national parks far less than Whites. This paper aims to identify key factors that constrain national park visitation among people of color to illuminate why people of color do not make greater use of NPS areas, particularly those parks that are remote and where outdoor recreation and scenery are major attractions. This brief review was created to aid NPS staff and its partners as they continue to diversify the park service and create programs and offerings that are relevant to a broader spectrum of Americans. Read the Paper

US Ranger on Mission to Attract More African Americans to National Parks
News Article | VOA News
When Deb Haaland was sworn in as Secretary of the Interior recently, the Native American former congresswoman became the nation’s top official in charge of most federal land. Her responsibilities include the National Park Service (NPS), which is trying to address a lack of diversity. This article explores the history of racism in the national park system and one park ranger who has made it his mission to tell park visitors the whole history of Yosemite. Read the Article

Betty Reid Soskin
Various Sources
When Betty Reid Soskin retired in 2022 at the age of 100, she was the nation’s oldest park ranger—serving at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. She also happens to be a Black woman. Learn about the remarkable life of this remarkable woman who started a new career in her 80s.

The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks
Documentary Short Film| Dewi Marquis
“You shouldn’t have to convince people to go to paradise,” says Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson. As an African American, he is unsettled by the fact that only 1 percent of those who visit Yosemite share his race. “The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks” follows the brief journey of a group of African American seniors from Los Angeles, California, as they experience these sacred lands. Watch the Film

10 National Parks that Honor Black History
Blog Post | National Parks Foundation
Find out where you can learn about Black History across the National Parks System. See the List

Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, on the Stage, Behind the Badge
Non-Fiction Book | Ed. Bruce A. Glasrud & Michael N. Searles
Black cowhands remain an integral part of life in the West, the descendants of African Americans who ventured west and helped settle and establish black communities. This long-overdue examination of nineteenth- and twentieth-century black cowboys ensures that they, and their many stories and experiences, will continue to be known and told. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

These People of Color Transformed U.S. National Parks
Online Article | National Geographic
Read about some of the Black and brown Americans who have been a part of the heritage and history of America’s national parks. Read the Article

The Unlikely Thru-Hiker: An Appalachian Trail Journey
Memoir | Derick Lugo
Guide Derick Lugo had never been hiking, but, with a job cut short and no immediate plans, this fixture of the New York comedy scene began to think about what he might do with months of free time. He had heard of the Appalachian Trail, but he had never seriously considered attempting to hike all 2,192 miles of it. Suddenly he found himself asking, Could he do it? “The Unlikely Thru-Hiker” is the story of a young black man setting off from the city with an extremely overweight pack and a willfully can-do attitude. What follows are lessons on preparation, humility, race relations, and nature's wild unpredictability. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature
Memoir | J. Drew Lanham
Meet the extraordinary people of Edgefield County, South Carolina, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, “The Home Place” is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South — and in America today. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry
Poetry Collection | Ed. By Camille T. Dungy
“Black Nature” is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated. Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry — anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild. Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

Gloryland
Fiction Book | Shelton Johnson
Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of black and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave--but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins up with the US cavalry. Elijah ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, running water, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely. Buy the book & support Road Scholar!

What topic would you like us to cover next? Send your ideas to socialjustice@roadscholar.org

Build Your Booklist on Bookshop.org

Shop on Road Scholar’s online bookshop, and you can support small local bookstores AND Road Scholar through your literary purchases! Plus, shop our shelf of anti-racism book recommendations.   Visit the Bookshop

Road Scholar Social Justice Club

Are you interested taking part in engaging, enlightening and sometimes challenging conversations about social justice topics with fellow Road Scholars? Do you know of resources that you have found especially helpful as you educate yourselves on race and anti-racism? Are you willing to share stories about your own personal social justice journeys? Please join us on Facebook in the Road Scholar Social Justice Club. To join the group or for information, please email socialjustice@roadscholar.org.

What topic would you like us to cover next? Send your ideas to socialjustice@roadscholar.org

Road Scholar acknowledges that this project does not provide a comprehensive or definitive solution to the inequities and systemic racism pervasive in our society and even in our fields of educational travel. This project will not serve as an endgame in Road Scholar's work to address issues of social justice in our country and our community, but merely a single step forward.