Just Mercy Expansion Kit #4

"It's hard to live on the streets. In prison, you can be someone. Life has order if you know how to do time, and I know. I'm an expert. Living in a tent is a temporary thing. You do it until you go back to prison. That's just how it works.”
– Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room




In This Kit You’ll Find:

  • 3 copies of Anatomy of Injustice by Raymond Bonner
  • 3 copies of Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King
  • 3 copies of The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
  • 3 copies of When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-cullors
  • 3 copies of Bastards of the Reagan Era by Reginald Dwayne Betts
  • 1 copy of discussion questions for The Mars Room (you may keep)
  • 1 copy of discussion questions for When They Call You a Terrorist (you may keep)
  • Book sign-up sheet to keep track of books (you may keep)

Themes for Discussion:

  • Anatomy of Injustice: Criminal justice system, racism in law enforcement, malicious accusation, murder trials
  • Beneath a Ruthless Sun: Criminal justice system, developmental disabilities, rape, imprisonment, racism
  • The Mars Room: Single mothers, prisons, prison sentences, drug abuse, the judicial system, life imprisonment, mothers & sons
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: Civil Rights, social movements, African American women, Black Lives Matter movement
  • Bastards of the Reagan Era: 1980s crack epidemic, mass incarceration, slavery, prisoners



About the Book:

Anatomy of Injustice: At the age of 23, Edward Lee Elmore, a black man, was arrested after the body of a white widow was found brutally beaten in the closet of her home. His connection to the victim was minimal and Elmore was an unlikely killer, but barely 90 days after the victim's body was found, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. This is an account of the misconduct, racism, defense ineptitude, and other injustices in Elmore's case. (Novelist)

Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A documenting of the mid-20th-century case of a gentle, developmentally challenged youth who was falsely accused of raping a wealthy woman. It is an account that traces the efforts of a crusading journalist to uncover the virulent racism and class corruption that led to his incarceration without a trial. (Novelist)

The Mars Room: A woman begins serving two life sentences in 2003 California's Central Valley, reflecting on the San Francisco of her youth and her relationship with her young son while navigating the harsh realities of a bare-essentials life of casual violence at the hands of the guards and her fellow inmates. (Novelist)

When They Call You a Terrorist: A memoir by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. It explains the movement's position of love, humanity, and justice, challenging the perspectives that have negatively labeled the movement's activists while calling for essential political changes. (Novelist)

Bastards of the Reagan Era: Haunting and harrowing poetry drawing from Betts' difficult journey from prison to law school, and the experiences of the men he got to know in prison. (The New York Times)


 Request Kit Here


Further Your Discussion:

  • Listen: Poet, Reginald Dwayne Betts, speaks with NPR Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his time in prison and his book of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era:


  • Listen & Watch: Author of Anatomy of Injustice, Raymond Bonner, highlights issues in our justice system:
  • Inform: Morgan Freeman interviews Black Lives Matter co-founder & author of When They Call You a Terrorist, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, about perseverance and rebellion:


  • Watch & Listen: Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Gilbert King, discusses his book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun:


FIND EVENTS (click to begin)→


South Coastal




This website may not be compatible with your outdated Internet Explorer version. Please upgrade to 10 or 11 here. If you are using XP or earlier please upgrade your operating system or try FireFox Or Chrome