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Books on race and criminal justice top bestseller lists

Works on the bestsellers list include Robin Diangelo's “White Fragility," Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" and Bryan Stevenson's “Just Mercy.”

NEW YORK — As nationwide protests against racism and police violence continue, readers are seeking out books old and new on race and criminal justice.

Robin Diangelo's “White Fragility," Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" and Bryan Stevenson's “Just Mercy” were among the works high on the bestseller lists Tuesday of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Popular books also included James Baldwin's classic “The Fire Next Time,” published more than 50 years ago, and a board book for children from National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi, “Antiracist Baby,” that comes out next week.

Protests erupted throughout the country for several days after Floyd, a black man, was killed by former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, and has since been arrested and charged. 

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In a widely circulated cellphone video of the Minneapolis incident, Floyd can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while Officer Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd's neck. The video shows Chauvin holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains he can't breathe.

Bystanders can be heard begging the officer to take his knee off Floyd's neck. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.

Several of the current bestsellers directly address police violence. Ta-Nehisi Coates' “Between the World and Me,” winner of the National Book Award in 2015, is an open letter to the author's son that centers on the murder of an old friend by police. Angie Thomas' “The Hate U Give” is a popular young adult novel, adapted into a feature film of the same name, about a young girl who sees her best friend killed at the hands of police.

Other works range from messages of unity — the “Sesame Street” picture book “We're Different, We're the Same," Latasha Morrison's “Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation” — to Reni Eddo-Lodge's “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.”

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