February 16, 2018— This nation has always been riven when it comes to race. Recall that disagreements over slavery and inequality ran so deep that the Founding Fathers decided to just look the other way, pretty sure that otherwise no union would be possible — and hope some future generation would find an answer. Fast-forward to police-shooting deaths, income inequality, widespread incarceration, and a president who looks at a torch-bearing procession of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., and sees some “very fine people.’’ Amid the turmoil we asked a group of black writers and academics this question: If you could assign a book for all white Americans to read right now, what would it be?

Learn more about the black writers and academics and their replies.

List of Required Reading

“My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir” by Jessica B Harris

“The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism’’ by Edward E. Baptist

“The Souls of Black Folk’’ by W. E. B. Du Bois

“Their Eyes Were Watching God’’ by Zora Neale Hurston

“Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence’’ by Patrick Sharkey

“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’’ by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele.

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X’’ by Malcolm X with Alex Haley

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration’’ by Isabel Wilkerson

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin’’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe

“My Bondage and My Freedom’’ by Frederick Douglass

“Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl’’ by Harriet Jacobs (1861)

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

“Beloved’’ by Toni Morrison

“No Name in the Street’’ by James Baldwin