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UMass Lowell Library Resources on Racism in the United States

"Not everything that is faced can be changed,
 but nothing can be changed until it is faced." 
- James Baldwin

This site is intended to help the UML community learn about the deeply embedded racist structures we live within. Many have noted that in order to change, the first step is to listen. This guide offers some voices to listen to.

In addition to the resources found in this site, the library owns many print and electronic books, videos, and articles on the topic of racism and anti-racism. If you are an educator intending to teach on this topic, please contact library staff and a guide can be adapted for your course.

Books By UML Faculty

Threatening Property

Elizabeth Herbin-Triant investigates early-twentieth-century campaigns for residential segregation laws in North Carolina to show how the version of white supremacy supported by middle-class white people differed from that supported by the elites. Class divides halted Jim Crow from mandating separate neighborhoods for black and white southerners.

Books: Poetry

And Still I Rise

Maya Angelou's unforgettable collection of poetry lends its name to the documentary film about her life, And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters.   Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.   Thus begins "Phenomenal Woman," just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou's third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh--and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it.   "It is true poetry she is writing," M.F.K. Fisher has observed, "not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes."

Phenomenal Woman

A collection of beloved poems about women from the iconic Maya Angelou These four poems, "Phenomenal Woman," "Still I Rise," "Weekend Glory," and "Our Grandmothers," are among the most remembered and acclaimed of Maya Angelou's poems. They celebrate women with a majesty that has inspired and touched the hearts of millions.   These memorable poems have been reset and bound in a beautiful edition--a gift to keep and to give.

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

The appearance in 1926 of Langston Hughes's first volume of poems, The Weary Blues, announced the arrival on the American literary scene not only of a new voice and tone, but also of a new sort of voice. Close to the rhythms of Negro speech and song, these apparently artless verses -- which, of course, in reality proclaim a poet of sophistication and keen sensibility -- brought to many readers throughout the English-speaking world a new enjoyment of the multifarious voices of Harlem and the other places where Negroes live in large numbers. Since The Weary Blues, Langston Hughes -- to mention only his verse -- has published Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), The Dream Keeper (1932), Shakespeare in Harlem (1942), Fields of Wonder (1947), One Way Ticket (1949), Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951), Ask Your Mama (1961), and The Panther and the Lash (1967). Selected Poems of Langston Hughes represents Langston Hughes's own decisions as to which of his poems he most wanted to preserve and reprint. It contains not only selections from his published books (including private publication), but also poems that either had never been published before or had appeared only in periodicals. Here are reflected the rhythms of jazz, the blues, and spirituals. Arna Bontemps has called Langston Hughes the "original jazz poet," and it is worth noting that Hughes in his last years often read his poetry to jazz accompaniment. But there is more in these poems than jazz, its rhythms and its significance. Here, too, are the travail, the joys and accomplishments, the wide-eyed wonder and bitter realizations of a transplanted race. Here, most important of all, are the affirmations and speech of a true poet. Primarily a lyricist, Langston Hughes learned how to speak with intensity of the things that mattered to him, the human factors that he understood and appreciated, whether in praise, in condemnation, or in sheer song.

Selected Poems

A selection of this poet's work dealing principally with the place of Black America in society.