‘400 Years of Enslavement: It Stops With Us’— An anti-racist resource guide from the MLK Coalition of Cincinnati

Submitted by Dr. Ericka King-Betts, president of the MLK Coalition of Cincinnati

The year 2019 marked the sad anniversary of the arrival of the first ship carrying stolen Africans to our shores. From that time, descendants of Europeans developed ideas about race, chattel slavery, and white supremacy that are specific to our country and that continue to shape the lives of everyone in the United States. 

Resistance to enslavement also arose from this time because those who were expected to comply with others’ orders and assumptions found ways to refuse. When the formal system of enslavement ended, new forms arose, and so resistance continued. Uncompensated labor, race-based oppression, and the unearned privileges of whiteness continue today. As the MLK Chorale’s selections remind us, it’s time to “Wake Up, Everybody”; it’s time to acknowledge the depths of the rivers of sorrow that still flow through this land, and it’s time to find our way to contribute to ending inequality and to spreading freedom and love.

Today, we rededicate ourselves to Dr. King’s vision of equality and justice for all. To that end, we need to educate ourselves about the Civil Rights Movement, and we need to talk honestly about race and our nation’s history. 

The MLK Coalition, opens a new window is a proud supporter of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Donations provided by the Coalition to the Library support the acquisition of more books about King and civil rights. Below is a list of resources available at the Library or online that any of us can use to further our own education.

Contributors to the resource guide below include MLK Coalition board members Louise Lawarre, Vivian Rodgers, and Martha Viehmann.

View Full List

Other Resources 

Our Story, opens a new window

This online application locates diverse children’s and young adult books based on interests (reading level, topic, type of story, and more). There are versions for teens, children, and educators/librarians. Diversity includes ability, gender identity, race, and ethnicity. Find Our Story on DiverseBooks.org and explore this website for recommendations and other information from We Need Diverse Books, opens a new window

Teaching Hard History: American Slavery, opens a new window

The Southern Poverty Law Center produced this podcast especially for educators to expand the resources available for teaching about the history of enslavement in the U.S. It’s informative for everyone. Hosted by Ohio State history professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries, and based on the book Understanding and Teaching American Slavery, opens a new window, the podcast and transcripts are available at tolerance.org. Also available through a variety of podcast services.  

Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr., opens a new window 

The Black Lives Matter movement urges us to act now to make radical changes in order to bring an end to systemic racism. Dr. King similarly challenged the liberal pastors who counseled patience while he spent time in jail for his acts of civil disobedience.