Join Our County-Wide Book Discussion

From June to September, we’ll be reading books about this history and its legacies. Book discussions can be helpful ways to discuss difficult topics with friends, family, and other county residents.

Use the tools below to start a discussion with friends and family. We encourage you to lead one for yourself so you can start having these conversations in your circles. If you’d like any help, feel free to email

Download your Book Group Handout for your book discussion here

Some upcoming book groups that would love for you to attend!

The Crestwood/Forest Park/Avondale Social Justice Book Group presents:
Strange Fruit Book Discussion – 2nd Half 
 Monday 1/13 at 6:00
Birmingham Friends Meeting
4413 5th Avenue South 35222

The Emmit O’Neal Library will be joining the JCMP Book Discussion in November. Join their conversation!

Wednesday, November 6th, 6pm, Just Mercy

Wednesday, December 4th, 6pm, Homegoing 

Saturday, January 25th, 2:30pm, Strange Fruit


Book Launch at the Birmingham Public library in June. We discussed mental health and historical trauma and how best to lead a book group

More Information on the Books


Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Alabama native Yaa Gyasi follows eight generations of two sisters born in Ghana. Her novel traces their lives from the Gold Coat and Mississippi plantations to Alabama mines and Harlem Jazz clubs. Choose this book to discuss generation trauma, Alabama convict lease system, and how the past enfolds our present.

Legacies of Lynching

Jonathan Markovitz

This book examines the evolution of lynching as a symbol in art, literature, pop culture, and political speech. For those looking for a more academic read, this book will help you understand how the memory of lynching persists in our culture today.

Strange Fruit

Lillian Smith

Published in 1944, Strange Fruit tells the tragedy and love story between a black woman and a white man in 1920s Georgia. This book will help those who want to better understand how racial terror controlled the romantic and social spheres of our towns and counties and how these topics were approached and understood in the 1940s.

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson

From the Founder and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy tells the story of EJI and current issues of civil and legal injustices. Pick this book if you’re interested in learning about the legacies of racial violence in our criminal justice system.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree

James H. Cone

Theologian James H. Cone explores connections between the symbols of the cross and lynching tree. He examines black history and Christian theology to explain how life can be meaningful in the face of injustice. Choose this book if you’re interested in religions connections to remembrance or for your congregations book club or home group.

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