Juneteenth, or Black Independence Day, marks the date when enslaved people in Texas received word that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation more than two and a half years earlier.
Wharton is united with the University of Pennsylvania’s celebration and acknowledgement of this important, historic date. In June of 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Kenney declared Juneteenth an official Philadelphia holiday; and for the first time, the University of Pennsylvania asked members of the community to take a day off from work to reflect and educate themselves about our nation’s history of systemic racism, and think about what we can individually and collectively do to take action and create a more equitable future.
To facilitate your own reflection and conversations, we’ve compiled a list of books, articles, podcasts, movies, and videos recommended by Wharton and Penn students and faculty, as well as ways you can support local organizations and local Black-owned businesses.
Articles and Guides
- Wharton Dean Erika James sat down with Ibram X. Kendi — activist, author, historian, scholar, professor, and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at Boston University — for a lecture with the Penn community on Juneteenth 2021. Take a look at Kendi’s anti-racist reading list in The New York Times and his piece for The Atlantic about who gets to be afraid in America.
- Wharton Management Prof. Stephanie Creary’s podcast and article series, Leading Diversity at Work, features in-depth interviews with leading experts and scholars on how everyone (employees and corporations alike) can actively champion DEI, or diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- The African American MBA Association (AMBAA), the Caribbean Business Club (CariBiz), and the Wharton Africa Student Association (WASA) put together an anti-racism guide, as well as a national donation and resource list.
- A’Lelia Bundles wrote an article for Al Jazeera, “Know your History: Understanding Racism in the U.S.”
- Wharton Prof. Adam Grant penned a LinkedIn post, “Why White People Stay Silent on Racism, and What to Read First,” with book recommendations about how racism pervades America.
- Watch the three-part Beyond Business lecture series on Race & Business. Dean Erika James and Wharton faculty joined industry leaders to discuss timely issues, from C-suite diversity and corporate philanthropy to the role of Black culture in marketing and the impact of systemic racism on Black entrepreneurs, providing their insights on how businesses and organizations can effect change.
- Penn Today spoke to political scientist Daniel Gillion about how protests can bring about change.
- “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not” written by Danielle Cadet for Refinery29 explores the impact of Black trauma following George Floyd’s death.
- Penn Prof. Mary Frances Berry shared her perspective on the 2020 protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Penn Today.
Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century by Penn Law Prof. Dorothy Roberts examines how the myth of biological concept of race continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality.
We recommend works of Penn English Department Senior Lecturer Lorene Carey including her best-selling coming-of-age memoir Black Ice, as well as her initiative Safe Kids Stories, which aims to notice, study, and celebrate safety for children of all backgrounds
In Thicker Than Blood: How Racial Statistics Lie, Prof. Tukufu Zuberi offers a concise account of the historical connections between the development of the idea of race and the birth of social statistics. Zuberi describes how race-differentiated data are misinterpreted in the social sciences and asks searching questions about the ways racial statistics are used.
Using in-depth survey data and information from focus groups with members of L.A.’s largest racial and ethnic groups, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Race, Class, and Residence in Los Angeles by Penn Prof. Camille Zubrinsky Charles explores why Los Angeles remains a segregated city.
The Joanna Banks Collection of African American literature was donated to the Penn Libraries, including more than 10,000 published works. Watch a video of Banks talking about her collection.
Hashtag Activism by Profs. Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles explores how and why Twitter has become an important platform for historically disenfranchised populations, including Black Americans, women, and transgender people. They show how marginalized groups, long excluded from elite media spaces, have used Twitter hashtags to advance counternarratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent.
Sport Matters: Leadership, Power, and the Quest for Respect in Sports by Wharton Prof. Kenneth L. Shropshire examines the need for diversity, inclusion, respect, and equality in sports. Another good read is The Miseducation of the Student Athlete: How to Fix College Sports by Wharton Prof. Kenneth L. Shropshire and Collin D. Williams, Jr. Both books are published by Wharton School Press.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by multicultural education scholar Robin DiAngelo, PhD, explicates the dynamics of White Fragility and how we might build our capacity in the on-going work towards racial justice.
New York Times best-selling book and GMA’s June Book Club Pick, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a story about identical twin sisters. One sister lives as a Black woman and the other sister chooses to pass as white. The Vanishing Half is an exploration of the American history of passing.
Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis is a powerful study of the women’s liberation movement in the US, demonstrating how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of our leaders.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is about a young Black girl who is mocked by other children for her dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes, and becomes obsessed with wanting blonde hair and blue eyes. The book is a powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity. Be sure to also check out Beloved and Song of Solomon.
Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi takes readers through a number of antiracist ideas from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities.
Biased by social psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt explores how we talk about bias, how we address racial disparities inequities, and what role our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander has been cited in judicial decisions and widely-adopted in college campuses since its publication 10 years ago. This book has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award.
If Beale Street Could Talk, Fruitvale Station, Becoming: Michelle Obama, Moonlight, Do the Right Thing, Selma, Hidden Figures, Paris is Burning, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Black Panther, Just Mercy, BlacKkKlansman, Get Out, Harriet, When they See Us, and other films and miniseries are available on streaming platforms. Many of them are available to watch for free.
Find your local Juneteenth Celebration and participate in virtual or in-person, socially distant events: http://juneteenthphilly.org. Other groups holding events include the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative, The Johnson House, a historic site known as a pivotal station along the Underground Railroad, Philadelphia’s African American Museum, and The National Museum of African American of History and Culture.
The Griot Initiative by StoryCorps documents the life stories of African Americans and the varied voices of people with roots in the African Diaspora living in the United States.
This New York Times audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, examines the long shadow of American slavery.
Hosted by journalists of color, this NPR podcast tackles the subject of race head-on, exploring how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports, and everything in between.
In this special edition episode of their New York Times podcast, hosts Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris unpack the reckonings of the past few weeks and offer resources for self-care and healing.
A music podcast that examines a single album per season, one song per episode with seasons focusing on the works of Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Tyler, The Creator, Lauryn Hill, and more.
The National Museum of African American of History & Culture is hosting Meditation Mondays to explore the museum’s themes with free 40-minute mindfulness meditation practices.
Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu (May 30, 2020, Medium)
Miriam Zoila Pérez (July 7, 2016, Colorlines)
Carmen Leah Ascencio (July 2, 2015, BGD)
Wharton Business Daily spoke to Charles Payne, host of Making Money with Charles Payne on Fox Business Network, and CEO and Principal Financial Analyst of Wall Street Strategies, about the impact inequality has on the American dream, the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, and corporate authenticity as it relates to Black Lives Matter.
Support local, Black-owned businesses in Philadelphia by reading this guide on https://blackownedphillyrestaurants.com/ or this article in Philadelphia Magazine. You can also seek out Black-owned businesses to support in your community.
Speak Up Penn is a website created by rising Penn/Wharton seniors Mitchell Cornell, Shabaig Chatha, Kyle Whiting, and Zulfiqar Soomro, in collaboration with the undergraduate group UMOJA. The page includes a list of Philadelphia-based, Black-run organizations you can volunteer with and donate to, as well as student groups who are matching contributions.
We hope you’ll join us in working to bring about a more inclusive university, community, and society in which we all can aspire to live, learn, and work. If you have suggestions for more resources to add to this list please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated June 9, 2023
Posted: June 19, 2020