The Faculty of HSS Statement: Spring 2020

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences deplores the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, and the breach of trust in justice, equality, security and community that his death represents for all Americans. We condemn all forms of racism, whether institutional or systemic; whether overt or covert, conscious or unconscious, or acts of commission or of omission

The events of the last weeks have forced into high relief the inequalities and injustices that gnaw at the heart of the American community. Shortly before his murder, in March 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. identified two Americas, one “flowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality,” and the other with a “daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.” In the half century since his “The Other America” speech, our perceptions of progress have been shattered by the ravages of COVID-19 among minority populations and the economic consequences that they have endured, disproportionately. The sad truth is that despite certain visible advances, far too many Americans have fallen even further behind. In large part, this is the result of systemic racism which we have failed to eradicate. Fifty years is a long time to wait. Four hundred years is even longer

The Faculty met on June 4th to reflect deeply on the prevalence of racism in America and its ongoing devastation, and to seek out ways to address this cancer in our own community at the Cooper Union. We reiterate our commitment to diversifying our curriculum as well as our faculty and to empowering our students. We are planning new antiracist initiatives that will encourage all of our students to thrive and flourish, and that we hope will deepen our own understanding of the complexities of the embodied experience of identity.

  • The first of these is a new and experimental course in writing, focused on racism and the associated challenges facing us today.
  • A second is a reading group on antiracist and inclusive pedagogy, hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Center for Writing.
  • For those who do not wish to wait until classes resume in the fall, the links below lead to a rich bounty of excellent readings, some by activists; others by scholars, and all worthwhile. Of particular interest is the fact that the University of Minnesota Press has made its books on race and racism available online through August 31st.

It is our hope that these initiatives will translate into real change throughout the HSS curriculum.

The Antiracist Alliance’s bibliography has links for ordering the books directly from Amazon. Purchases through the Alliance’s website support its mission.

Radical Reference offers Anti-Racism for Activists: A Bibliography

As part of its Reading for Racial Justice project, The University of Minnesota Press has made its list of titles on race in America and elsewhere available for free online reading through August 31, 2020.

The Schomburg Center of the New York Public Library’s Black Liberation Reading List

From Saidiya Hartman, Columbia professor and MacArthur Fellow: The End of White Supremacy: An American Romance

Georgetown professor and author Michael Dyson’s reading picks on race are contained in this interview

In 2002, activist Paul Kivel put together a bibliography on racism

For a longer, historical perspective on racism and anti-racism, see’s extensive bibliography, mostly scholarly works

A partial bibliography, drawn from several of these sources and alphabetized by author, follows:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander

The Third Reconstruction by Rev. Barber

Becoming the Anti-racist Church: Journeying Toward Wholeness
Joseph Barndt

Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-first Century Challenge to White America
by Joseph Barndt

A Black Women’s History of the US by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Gross

History Teaches Us to Resist by Mary F. Berry

Living for Change, An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs, 2016

Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements George Breitman (edt) 1965

Full Dissidence by Howard Bryant

Unapologetic by Charlene Carruthers

Educated in Whiteness: Good Intentions and Diversity in Schools by Angelina E. Castagno 2014

Accountability and White Anti-racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work
Bonnie Cushing, with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberley Richards, editors. Foreword by Ronald Chisom

The Denial of Antiblackness: Multiracial Redemption and Black Suffering by João H. Costa Vargas

Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities by Julie I. Davis 2013

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon 1991

Martin Heidegger Saved My Life by Grant Farred 2015

How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Fleming

Pedagogy of the Oppressed b Paulo Freire-1996

What God Is Honored Here? by Shannon Gibney and  Kao Kalia Yang

The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860–1876 by William D. Green, 2018

Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865–1912 by William D. Green 2015

Hope in the Struggle by Josie R. Johnson

Learning While Black: Creating Educational Excellence for African American Children
Janice E. Hale

Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America by Anthony Ryan Hatch 2016

A Race Is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in Your Life
Janet Helms-1992

killing rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks-1995

Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify by Carolyn Lee Holbrook

Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)Integration
Sonya Douglass Horsford

But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: Black Women's Studies by Gloria T. Hull (edt) 1986

Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
 by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout by Lynn Mie Itagaki 2016

Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity by Daniel Martinez HoSang and Joseph E. Lowndes
Digitize and Punish, by Brian Jefferson

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson 2005

You Call This Democracy?: : Who Benefits, Who Pays, Who Really Decides by Paul Kivel 2004

The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol 2005

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Crossing Press Feminist Series) by Audre Lorde-1984

The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide
By Meizhu Lui, Barbara Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Rose Brewer, Rebecca Adamson
The New Press, 2006

The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life by Manning Marable- 2002

American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass by Douglas S. Massey, Nancy A. Denton- 1994

Gather at the Table by Sharon Morgan and Thomas Norman DeWolf

Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination by Alondra Nelson 2013

Suspect Communities by Nicole Nguyen

An African American and Latinx History by Paul Ortiz

Breathe by Imani Perry

Applying Alcoholics Anonymous Principles to the Disease of Racism
Kenneth L. Radcliffe

A More Beautiful and Terrible History by Jeanne Theoharis, Invisible No More by Andrea Ritchie

Consciousness-in-Action: Toward an Integral Psychology of Liberation & Transformation
Raúl Quiñones Rosado PhD

Food Justice Now! Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle by Joshua Sbicca 2018

Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America by Brett Story

The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources
Lynne Twist

Voices of Rondo: Oral Histories of Saint Paul’s Historic Black Community. As told to Kate Cavett. 2017

From Slavery to Mass Incarceration (pdf) by Loïc Wacquant

A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None by Kathryn Yusoff, 2018

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

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  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.