April 2024 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Here are 25 fantastic books releasing this month that we recommend you dig into. There are stunning debuts, masterful historical fiction, kaleidoscopic short stories, thoughtful manifestas, moving memoirs, groundbreaking nonfiction, and so much more.

Reconstructing the Roberts Court

The Supreme Court will soon make monumental decisions on presidential immunity, racial gerrymandering and abortion pills that stand to harm marginalized people and reinforce the privileges of wealth and whiteness.

Perhaps it is unremarkable that an institution dominated by white men since its inception struggles to be inclusive. But the Roberts Court’s consideration of the Reconstruction Amendments—the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution—is especially alarming.

The Fight to End Legacy Admissions Must Account for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As we sat on the bleachers, my grandfather became bored with waiting to see his first grandchild, my brother, walk across the stage for his bachelor’s degree. Using his bellowing voice, he broke out singing NYU’s alma mater song. I was mortified. But over the years, I have come to appreciate how he embraced the power of legacy.

The uprooting of affirmative action has left an unequal scale in the world of admissions, which many believe should be addressed by removing legacy admissions entirely. However, my grandfather’s story and the stories of many others like him point to an essential reason why legacy admissions should continue—just with restrictions that center on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as on restoring access to economic, social, and cultural disinvestment in underrepresented groups.

Rest in Power: Sandra Day O’Connor, the First Woman on the Supreme Court

One hundred and ninety-one years after the first Supreme Court was convened, Sandra Day O’Connor smashed the glass ceiling and was sworn in as the first woman to become an associate justice and one of the most influential members in the history of the Court.

For 12 years, she was the only women on the bench and the most powerful woman in the United States. At the time, the entire institution was designed for and by men—from the signs on the walls harking to “Mr. Justice,” to the lack of bathrooms and other facilities closed off to women (though she later inaugurated and regularly attended an aerobics class for women law clerks).

Supreme Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action—A Blow to Equality and Democracy

Colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a basis for granting admission, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, upending decades of its own precedents that have benefited Black, Latino and Indigenous students seeking higher education.

The long-awaited decision was met with instant rebuke from legal observers and civil rights advocates. “Today’s decisions from the Supreme Court on affirmative action represent a significant setback for civil rights in the U.S. and are a cornerstone of the conservative movement’s coordinated effort to roll back access to opportunity for systemically marginalized Americans,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum.

Race-Conscious Policies—Including Affirmative Action—Are Necessary For Addressing Racial Inequity

Affirmative action recently survived yet another legal attack when the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Harvard’s favor in a case challenging affirmative action.

This latest case against Harvard demonstrates that color-blindness cannot uproot this country’s legacy of racism. We must face race head-on to meaningfully address the racial inequality that persists in our society.