Elizabeth Hinton’s celebrated new book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime (Harvard, 2016) comes at an electric political moment. “I hope,” says Hinton, “that my research can help us learn from policy-makers’ mistakes—and their racist assumptions about black Americans, poverty, and crime—and envision a more inclusive future.” Here, she recommends five books that do the same.
by Kali N. Gross
Duke University Press, 2006
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Kali Gross reminds us that there are two sides to every crime in this examination of how perpetrators and state actors together constructed black female criminality in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century. Although Gross’s nuanced analysis is rooted in prison records, trials, and mug shots from more than a hundred years ago, the implications of her groundbreaking study still resonate.
by Talitha L. LeFlouria
University of North Carolina Press, 2015
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In this widely acclaimed book, Talitha LeFlouria traces the way in which black women modernized the South as prison laborers after the Civil War. At times it is hard to plow through LeFlouria’s descriptions of the violent and exploitative conditions these women faced. Yet she leaves us with a radically new understanding of the historical dimensions of racism, gender, and state violence.