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Compiled by the Abusable Past Collective

The co-editors at the Abusable Past have compiled this list to provide readers with quick access to collected resources for teaching, learning, and acting in the wake of the most recent wave of police killings, including the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, Breona Taylor  in Louisville, KY, and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL. This list is not comprehensive as there are multiple ways to contextualize this current moment of rebellion. We hope to collaborate around a practice of self-study towards a freer world. We welcome suggestions for additional resources, which you can tweet to us @AbusablePast, DM to us on Instagram @theabusablepast, or email

I. Understanding the Police and the Function of Police Violence

Stuart Hall et. al., Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order (1978)

Sidney Harring, Policing a Class Society: The Experience of American Cities, 1865-1915 (1983)

Joy James, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (2000)

Marc Neocleous, The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power  (2000)

Christian Parenti, Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2001)

Sam Mitrani, The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 (2013)

Mariame Kaba, “Summer Heat” (2015)

Kristian Williams, Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America (2015)

Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton, eds., Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (2016)

Kelly Lytle Hernández, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965 (2017)

Andrea Ritchie, Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (2017)

Alex Vitale, “The police are not here to protect you” (2017) 

David Correia and Tyler Wall, Police: A Field Guide (2018)

Max Felker-Kantor, Policing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD (2018)

Monica Muñoz Martinez, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (2018)

Micol Seigel, Violence Work: State Power and the Limits of Police (2018)

Marisol Lebron, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (2019)

Stuart Schrader, Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (2019)

II. Criminalizing Blackness

Ida B. Wells, “Lynch Law in America” (1900)

Ida B. Wells, “This Awful Slaughter” (1909)

We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief From a Crime of The United States Government Against the Negro People (1951)

Kali Nicole Gross, Colored Amazons: Crime, Violence, and Black Women in the City of Brotherly Love, 1880-1910 (2006)

Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

Khalil Muhammed, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2010)

Beth Richie, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation (2012)

Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (2015)

Christen Smith, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil (2016)

Damien M. Sojoyner, First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles (2016) 

Paul Butler, Chokehold: Policing Black Men (2017)

Robyn Maynard, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (2017)

Jenn M. Jackson, “Calling the Police on Black People Can Put Them in Danger” (2018) 

P.R. Lockhart, “Living While Black and the criminalization of blackness” (2018) 

Simon Balto, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (2019)

Savannah Shange, Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (2019)

Carl Suddler, Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York (2019)

III. Histories of Resistance, Riots, and Uprisings 

James Baldwin, “A Report from Occupied Territory” (1966)

U.S. Riot Commission, Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders [KERNER COMMISSION REPORT](1968) 

Robert Gooding-Williams, ed. Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising (1993)

Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1993)

Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (1997)

Tim Madigan, The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (2001)

Donna Murch, Living For the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (2010)

Cameron McWhirte, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America (2011)

Vicky Osterweil, “In Defense of Looting” (2014) 

African American Policy Forum, “#SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women” (2015)

Jordan Camp, Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (2016)

Aaron G. Fountain Jr., “Forgotten Latino Urban Riots and Why They Can Happen Again” (2016)

Elizabeth Hinton, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (2016)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (2016)

Llana Barber, Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945–2000 (2017)

Natalie Delgadillo, “The Forgotten History of Latino Riots” (2017)

Orisanmi Burton, “Organized Disorder: The New York City Jail Rebellion of 1970” (2018)

Nick Estes, Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, And the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019)

Melvin Rogers, “We Should Be Afraid, But Not of Protesters” (2020)

IV. What is abolition? What does it mean to abolish the police?

Critical Resistance, Resources on Policing and Police Abolition 

Angela Y. Davis and Dylan Rodriguez, “The Challenge of Prison Abolition: A Conversation” (2000)

Angela Y.  Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

CR10 Publications Collective, Abolition Now: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex (2008)

Rose City Copwatch, Alternatives to Police (2010) 

Reina Gossett, Dean Spade, and Hope Dector, “No One Is Disposable: Everyday Practices of Prison Abolition” (2013)

“Angela Davis on Prison Abolition, the War on Drugs and Why Social Movements Shouldn’t Wait on Obama” (2014)

Mariame Kaba, “Police ‘Reforms’ You Should Always Oppose” (2014) 

Victoria Law, “Against Carceral Feminism” (2014) 

Jose Martin, “Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World” (2014)

Kristian Williams, “A Look at Feminist Forms of Justice That Don’t Involve the Police” (2015) 

Mychal Denzel Smith, “Abolish the Police. Instead, Let’s Have Full Social, Economic, and Political Equality” (2015) 

Maya Dukmasova, “Abolish the police? Organizers say it’s less crazy than it sounds.” (2016) 

Victoria Law, “Protection Without Police: North American Community Responses to Violence in the 1970s and Today” (2017) 

John Duda, “Towards the horizon of abolition: A conversation with Mariame Kaba” (2017) 

MDP 150, “Enough is Enough: A 150 Year Performance Review of the Minneapolis Police Department” (2017)

Derecka Purnell, “What Does Police Abolition Mean?” (2017) 

Alex Vitale, The End of Policing (2017)

Meghan G. McDowell & Luis A. Fernandez, “‘Disband, Disempower, and Disarm’: Amplifying the Theory and Practice of Police Abolition” (2018) 

Bill Keller, “What Do Abolitionists Really Want?” (2019)

Derecka Purnell and Marbre Stahly-Butts, “The Police Can’t Solve the Problem. They Are the Problem.” (2019)

Ruth Wilson Gilmore and James Kilgore, “The Case for Abolition” (2019) 

Rachel Kushner, “Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind” (2019) 

V. Additional Resources and Reading Lists

Kelly Lytle Hernández, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Heather Ann Thompson (eds.), Historians and the Carceral State (2015)

Dan Berger, Garrett Felber, Kali Gross, Elizabeth Hinton, and Anyabwile Love, “Prison Abolition Syllabus 2.0” (2018)

Matt Guariglia and Charlotte Rosen, “Histories Of Police, Policing, And Police Unions In The United States” (2020) 

Micah Herskind, “Resource Guide: Prisons, Policing, and Punishment” (2019, updated 2020)

Mariame Kaba, Prison Culture PIC Essential Reading List (2010)

#CiteBlackWomen (Christen A. Smith), Twitter thread on resources that support the struggle to preserve and protect Black life (2020), Resource Hub (2020)