Antiracist Family Book Club: The Kidnapping Club & Call and Response


MG & Up




Historical Figures




I’m back with another pairing for the #AntiracistFamilyBookClub that y’all seemed to enjoy the first installment of!

The first book I want to share with you was recommended to me by a colleague of Lee’s named Daryl! The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War is written for grownup and higher level readers, covering a wide array of topics. Written by Jonathan Daniel Wells and published by Bold Type Books.

Living in the Northeast, the rhetoric is always that the Southern states are the racist ones, New England never had these problems. WE were the ones who “fixed things” (insert eye roll here). The Kidnapping Club takes these notions and blatantly refutes them, showing the deep connections between enslavement and capitalism in New York City. The name of the book refers to the network of wealthy white men who captured and enslaved free Blacks, both born free and those who self-liberated. But mostly CHILDREN. You read that correctly. They kidnapped children and enslaved them.

This book is brilliantly researched and historical entrepreneur David Ruggles is the one who coined the name of this disgusting and nefarious group. The contents of this book is what we deliberately weren’t taught in schools. Which makes it even more necessary to read today before committing to more active antiracism and protest.

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter is another powerhouse of a text brought to readers by Veronica Chambers (author of some of my favorite books: Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! & Finish the Fight!) and published by Clarion & Mariner Books (formerly Versify/HMH Books). Like everything Chambers does, it’s cleverly put together with tons of photos and an easy to read timeline. She’s compiled meticulously and showcases the best activists and events that the Black Lives Matter movement has put together.

The author’s note is particularly gripping, mentioning that there’s no “right” way to end the book because the violence continues. The three women that began this global hashtag phenomenon are Opal Tometti, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza. We need to remember these women that are at the forefront, not a faceless entity.

The photos are compelling and connect with the reader on a deeper level than reading plain text can have. Some are present day and some are historical. But they all show the reader just how long Black citizens have been asking for equity and true freedom.

Being able to compare the activist strategies of those engaged in the fight for liberation in the 1800’s with the individuals doing that work today. Have things really changed? This point is why these two books can be paired to have deeper discussions as a family about how slow social change can be, activist strategies, and how to be involved in this as a family.

These books were sent by the publishers, but all opinions and decisions to pair are my own.

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