Books of Protest Reading List Book Covers

As protest rights are threatened around the country, as documented in the new PEN America report Arresting Dissent, we turn to books that demonstrate the power and importance of taking action and speaking out against racism, oppression, censorship, and injustice. We asked authors, historians, and scholars to share one book that has inspired and informed them as they write, create, and dissent.

These titles represent a wide spectrum of material, from narrative histories of some of our country’s social movements, to lyrical and searing works of prose that embody the spirit of protest in their pages. Contributors include bridgette bianca, Lennard Davis, Joy Harjo, Margo Jefferson, Robin D. G. Kelley, Yusef Komunyakaa, An Xiao Mina, Harryette Mullen, Imani Perry, Natasha Tretheway, David Treuer, Alice Wong, and Helen Zia. We encourage you to purchase one or more of these books from a Black-owned bookstore near you.