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NYU Reads

A selection of resources for engaging with the NYU Reads books.

Where to Begin

"The racial terrorism of lynching in many ways created the modern death penalty. America's embrace of speedy executions was, in part, an attempt to redirect the violent energies of lynching while assuring white southerners that black men would still pay the ultimate price." Just Mercy, Chapter 19 

Just Mercy speaks of some of the effects of historical violence on our current society and systems. In order to unpack Stevenson work, readers must understand some of the historical roots and perpetuation of anti-Black racism and discrimination in the United States and the struggle for justice.  These resources help to contextualize the historic power imbalances and help us understand how that history lends to current systems of crime and punishment.

Essays & Articles


"We, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.” - James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time