The best 37 Black Lives Matter books

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Black Lives Matter Books: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
4.6 (97 ratings)

What's The New Jim Crow about?

The New Jim Crow (2010) unveils an appalling system of discrimination in the United States that has led to the unprecedented mass incarceration of African-Americans. The so-called War on Drugs, under the jurisdiction of an ostensibly colorblind justice system, has only perpetuated the problem through unconscious racial bias in judgments and sentencing.

Who should read The New Jim Crow?

  • Anyone who cares about racial justice
  • Anyone interested in sociology
  • Anyone who wants to learn about systematic oppression in the United States

Black Lives Matter Books: Ghettoside by Jill Leovy


Jill Leovy
A True Story of Murder in America
3.6 (5 ratings)

What's Ghettoside about?

Ghettoside (2015) is an incisive look into the failure of inner-city American police to protect the black communities that they are supposed to serve. These blinks explore the problem of high rates of homicide in black communities. They provide historical background, grapple with the social implications of violence and attempt to find a practical solution.  

Who should read Ghettoside?

  • People curious about why police can’t seem to mitigate violence in black communities
  • Anyone interested in urban police strategies
  • Supporters of police reform

Black Lives Matter Books: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
4.3 (73 ratings)

What's Between the World and Me about?

Between the World and Me (2015) is an open letter to the author’s 15-year-old son about the realities that Black men face in America. Filled with personal anecdotes about the author’s personal development and experiences with racism, his letter tries to prepare young Black people for the world that awaits them.

Who should read Between the World and Me?

  • Anyone interested in race and racism in the United States
  • Anyone interested in social issues
  • Anyone interested in US history

Black Lives Matter Books: How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

How To Be Black

Baratunde Thurston
3.8 (18 ratings)

What's How To Be Black about?

How To Be Black (2012) is the funny, revealing and insightful autobiography of Baratunde Thurston. Thurston attended private schools and Harvard University, and the experience of being black in a predominantly white milieu taught him a great deal about what white and black people have come to expect from one another. These blinks tackle a difficult subject with humor and empathy.

Who should read How To Be Black?

  • Black people who get nervous around white people
  • White people who get nervous around black people
  • Curious readers interested in a fresh perspective

Black Lives Matter Books: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
3.8 (45 ratings)

What's From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation about?

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (2016) brings you up-to-date on the ongoing struggle for Black liberation in the United States. Discover the real reasons why racism continues to fracture America and why activist organizations like Black Lives Matter remain a much needed force for change. The fight is far from over, so find out what you can do to be part of the solution.

Who should read From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation?

  • Sociology students and people studying race relations
  • African-Americans and civil-rights activists
  • Readers interested in the Black liberation movement

Black Lives Matter Books: Ghetto by Mitchell Duneier


Mitchell Duneier
The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea
4.3 (13 ratings)

What's Ghetto about?

Ghetto (2016) traces the socio-ideological development of the word “ghetto” – particularly how it’s been applied to black neighborhoods in America – and takes an unflinching look at the complex ways in which race, prejudice, policy and sociology interact. When it comes to fighting for racial equality, there are no easy answers.

Who should read Ghetto?

  • Activists and policy makers
  • Sociology and political science students
  • People interested in American studies

Black Lives Matter Books: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Reni Eddo-Lodge
4.2 (174 ratings)

What's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race about?

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017) examines the often-dismissed problem of racism in Britain and offers insight into how it might be overcome. Contrary to the title, this volume provides a starting point for productive conversations about racism in Britain today. It examines British black history, white privilege and the links between class and race.

Who should read Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race?

  • People interested in black British history
  • Workers who feel the economy and society aren’t working for them
  • Anyone who wants better race relations

Black Lives Matter Books: When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

When They Call You a Terrorist

Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
A Black Lives Matter Memoir
3.8 (30 ratings)

What's When They Call You a Terrorist about?

When They Call You a Terrorist (2017) is the memoir of Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Khan-Cullors. Full of shocking anecdotes and statistics concerning systemic racism and police brutality against Black Americans, the book details Khan-Cullors’ childhood deprivations, her family’s struggles and the events that led to the formation of the world’s most prolific modern-day civil-rights groups.  

Who should read When They Call You a Terrorist?

  • Activists curious about civil-rights movements
  • Mindful citizens concerned about current affairs
  • Anyone interested in shocking true-life stories

Black Lives Matter Books: This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing

Morgan Jerkins
Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America
4.2 (18 ratings)

What's This Will Be My Undoing about?

This Will Be My Undoing (2018) delves into the author’s experiences as a Black woman living in modern-day America. By examining race, culture and feminism, the book demonstrates why and how Black women have been marginalized and offers suggestions on how this serious situation can be improved.

Who should read This Will Be My Undoing?

  • People interested in the marginalization of Black women
  • Feminist studies students
  • Those who want to learn about contemporary Black culture in the United States

Black Lives Matter Books: What Truth Sounds Like by Michael Eric Dyson

What Truth Sounds Like

Michael Eric Dyson
Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
4.7 (18 ratings)

What's What Truth Sounds Like about?

What Truth Sounds Like (2018) revisits a relatively short meeting in 1963 between Robert Kennedy and a group of black artists, using it as a jumping-off point for the ongoing conversation about race in America. This meeting was an eye-opening experience for Kennedy, and author Michael Eric Dyson explains why more politicians need to be woken up to the realities of the black experience. Dyson also takes a look at some of the important writers and artists who are keeping the conversation alive today.

Who should read What Truth Sounds Like?

  • Students of American history and sociology
  • Readers interested in black culture
  • Activists and anyone who wants to get woke

Black Lives Matter Books: Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke

Slay in Your Lane

Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke
The Black Girl Bible
4.3 (8 ratings)

What's Slay in Your Lane about?

Slay in Your Lane (2018) is a powerful broadside against the discrimination faced by black women in today’s Britain. But Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke aren’t just interested in criticizing the way things are – they also want to help improve the lives of black girls and women in the UK. Packed full of insightful advice and helpful strategies, this a blueprint for rising above prejudice and achieving great things.

Who should read Slay in Your Lane?

  • Black women and girls
  • Young women starting their careers
  • Anyone interested in what life is like for black women and girls

Black Lives Matter Books: Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.

Locking Up Our Own

James Forman Jr.
Crime and Punishment in Black America
4.1 (14 ratings)

What's Locking Up Our Own about?

Locking Up Our Own (2017) takes a look at the US war on drugs in Washington, DC, and its impact on Black Americans. It draws on significant drug and gun legislation from the 1970s through to the late 1990s, which shaped policing methods and influenced the targeting of crime in Black communities.

Who should read Locking Up Our Own?

  • People who want to learn about America’s war on drugs
  • Those interested in the relationship between the police and Black Americans
  • Anyone who wants to know about crime and judiciary procedures in Washington, DC, from 1970 to the 1990s

Black Lives Matter Books: Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks

Ain’t I a Woman

bell hooks
Black Women and Feminism
4.6 (77 ratings)

What's Ain’t I a Woman about?

Ain’t I a Woman (1981) is a work of feminist scholarship that explores the complexities of living in the United States as a Black woman. Hooks examines the convergence of racism and sexism in major political and social movements throughout American history.

Who should read Ain’t I a Woman?

  • Women of color
  • Feminists
  • Those interested in race and gender theory

Black Lives Matter Books: Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom


Tressie McMillan Cottom
And Other Essays
4.2 (36 ratings)

What's Thick about?

Thick: And Other Essays (2019) is a collection of essays by author Tressie McMillan Cottom that centers on the experiences of African American women. Drawing on her own lived experience as well as that of others, McMillan Cottom’s smart, incisive prose provides a fresh perspective on topics as varied as race, beauty, politics, and capitalism, and sheds light on the most pressing issues of today. Part sociological tract, part polemic, the book reveals the brutal and often absurd paradoxes of modern-day America. 

Who should read Thick?

  • Feminists interested in deeper insight into the experiences of Black women 
  • Activists who want to learn more about the current state of racial inequity 
  • Social scientists and academics interested in current affairs

Black Lives Matter Books: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi
4.2 (255 ratings)

What's How to Be an Antiracist about?

How to be an Antiracist (2019) explores the causes of and solutions to the racism that plagues our societies. Drawing on his own experiences as well as political and historical insights, the author shines a light on what he argues is a truly antiracist perspective and explains how you can effect change in an unjust world. 

Who should read How to Be an Antiracist?

  • Anyone who cares about social justice
  • Those who want to change the world
  • Political individuals looking for fresh insights

Black Lives Matter Books: Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

Me and White Supremacy

Layla Saad
How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World
4.3 (156 ratings)

What's Me and White Supremacy about?

Me and White Supremacy (2020) is a guidebook to the white supremacist world we live in. It’s intended to help white people improve their understanding of racism and work to become allies to people of color.

Who should read Me and White Supremacy?

  • White people who want to understand anti-racism
  • People who’ve benefited from white supremacy
  • People interested in contemporary society and sociology

Black Lives Matter Books: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race

Ijeoma Oluo
4.3 (76 ratings)

What's So You Want to Talk About Race about?

So You Want To Talk About Race (2018) examines the complex system of racism in the United States, from police brutality to cultural appropriation to the school-to-prison pipeline. It offers clarity on ways we can approach conversations about race and take action against structural injustice.

Who should read So You Want to Talk About Race?

  • Citizens who care about social justice
  • People who want to improve their understanding of racism
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to discuss race

Black Lives Matter Books: Natives by Akala


Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
4.6 (32 ratings)

What's Natives about?

Natives (2018) melds memoir and polemic to explore race and class in contemporary Britain. Drawing on his own experiences while growing up poor and Black in London in the 1980s and 1990s, musician and writer Akala crafts a vivid portrait of a society that systematically robs Black citizens of opportunities. Why, he asks, is Britain like this? As we’ll see in these blinks, answering that question takes us deep into the history of slavery, empire, and racism. 

Who should read Natives?

  • History buffs
  • Radicals and reformers
  • Brits and Anglophiles

Black Lives Matter Books: I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite

I Am Not Your Baby Mother

Candice Brathwaite
What it's like to be a Black British mother
4.1 (17 ratings)

What's I Am Not Your Baby Mother about?

I Am Not Your Baby Mother (2020) is part memoir and part manifesto about life as a Black British mother. Drawing on Candice Brathwaite’s own journey to parenthood, it describes how she survived everything from postnatal depression to the realization that she could never protect her children from racism. These events motivated her to create space for representations of diverse experiences of motherhood online.

Who should read I Am Not Your Baby Mother?

  • Black mothers looking for narratives of parenthood that more closely reflect their own
  • Activists wanting to learn more about inequality in Britain
  • White parents who want to confront their own privilege and learn about institutionalized racism

Black Lives Matter Books: Across That Bridge by John Lewis

Across That Bridge

John Lewis
A Vision for Change and the Future of America
4.5 (55 ratings)

What's Across That Bridge about?

Across That Bridge (2017) is a poignant account from one of America’s most powerful activists on the qualities that protestors need to embody to bring about lasting change. Activists in the US and all over the world look to the American civil rights movement of the 1960s for inspiration on how to challenge injustice. Here, Lewis uses personal recollections – from freedom rides to bus boycotts to the March on Washington – to impart lessons about nonviolent protest to the next generation of dreamers.

Who should read Across That Bridge?

  • Anyone who wants to speak truth to power
  • People inspired by the historic victories of the civil rights movement
  • Those interested in nonviolent communication

Black Lives Matter Books: Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

Four Hundred Souls

Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
4.4 (67 ratings)

What's Four Hundred Souls about?

Four Hundred Souls (2021) is an innovative and insightful recounting of African American history. This collection brings together ninety different authors to reflect on four-hundred years of struggle, oppression, and hope.

Who should read Four Hundred Souls?

  • Americans curious to explore their country’s layered history
  • Politically engaged thinkers wishing to understand the roots of current issues
  • Anyone who wants more insight into the Black experience

Black Lives Matter Books: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk

W.E.B. Du Bois
4.4 (83 ratings)

What's The Souls of Black Folk about?

The Souls of Black Folk (1903) details the conditions of African Americans in the years after the end of slavery. By examining issues such as education, economic opportunities, and the interaction between Black and White Americans, Du Bois highlights the challenging legacy of slavery and the disempowering effects of the racism and segregation that followed.

Who should read The Souls of Black Folk?

  • People interested in African American history
  • Those who want to better understand race relations in America
  • People interested in sociology

Black Lives Matter Books: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

Isabel Wilkerson
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
4.4 (80 ratings)

What's The Warmth of Other Suns about?

The Warmth of Other Suns (2010) tells the story of the Great Migration – the biggest inner-border mass migration in US history. From 1915 to 1970, millions of Black Americans left the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in Northern cities. Focusing on the lives of three of those migrants, these blinks paint a vivid picture of the fears, hopes, and dreams that shaped the movement.

Who should read The Warmth of Other Suns?

  • Curious minds who want to learn about an underexplored chapter of US history
  • Fans of biographical and eyewitness accounts of the past
  • Anyone interested in the social and demographic forces that shaped America

Black Lives Matter Books: My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem

My Grandmother's Hands

Resmaa Menakem
Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
4.5 (40 ratings)

What's My Grandmother's Hands about?

My Grandmother’s Hands (2017) explores how racism affects Black, white, and police bodies in the United States – and what individuals and communities can do to heal them. Trauma therapist Resmaa Menakem explains why historic, familial, and personal trauma relating to racism is often stored deep in our nervous system, and teaches body-based practices to overcome it.

Who should read My Grandmother's Hands?

  • Black people who want to begin to heal their bodies from the trauma of racism 
  • White folks who want to become better allies through a body-centered practice of anti-racism
  • Police officers and public safety officials who want to learn how to avoid violence

Black Lives Matter Books: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Hood Feminism

Mikki Kendall
Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot
4.2 (159 ratings)

What's Hood Feminism about?

Hood Feminism (2020) examines how feminism has often acted in the interests of white women, rather than all women. To be truly inclusive, feminism must also advocate for the most disadvantaged women in society, including women of color.

Who should read Hood Feminism?

  • Feminists looking to expand their horizons
  • Women of color who want to see change
  • Anyone hoping to learn about race and feminism

Black Lives Matter Books: I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

I'm Still Here

Austin Channing Brown
Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
3.9 (38 ratings)

What's I'm Still Here about?

I’m Still Here (2018) is a memoir about racial justice in modern America. Racism is still all around us – even in Christian organizations that claim to champion diversity and understanding.

Who should read I'm Still Here?

  • People looking to understand what it’s like to be Black in America
  • Christians eager to learn how to be truly progressive
  • Fans of powerful memoirs

Black Lives Matter Books: Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

Begin Again

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
4.5 (41 ratings)

What's Begin Again about?

Begin Again (2020) looks back at the incomparable work of the writer James Baldwin, who spent decades dissecting America’s fundamental racism problem. His ideas may provide insights for us today, so Begin Again seeks to answer the question: What advice would Baldwin have on issues like Trumpism or Black Lives Matter?

Who should read Begin Again?

  • Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement
  • People longing for a less hypocritical America
  • Anyone seeking an end to Trumpism

Black Lives Matter Books: Make Change by Shaun King

Make Change

Shaun King
How to Fight Injustice, Dismantle Systemic Oppression, and Own Our Future
3.8 (179 ratings)

What's Make Change about?

Informed by the life and work of successful social justice activist Shaun King, Make Change (2020) is your guide on how to join the fight for a better world. King is a leading figure in the fight against police brutality and mass incarceration in America, and his wins and losses along the way have taught him vital lessons on how to create real, lasting social change. No matter the cause you’re invested in, these blinks will show you how to use your skills and resources to make a real difference. 

Who should read Make Change?

  • Budding activists and future organizers
  • Shaun King admirers who want to know more about his life and work
  • Anyone looking to make a real difference in the world

Black Lives Matter Books: Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Beverly Daniel Tatum
And Other Conversations About Race
4.4 (76 ratings)

What's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? about?

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (1997) explores the reality of race in the American public education system and sheds light on racial-identity development in both Black and white people. Updated with a new prologue in 2017, it also explains how talking openly about racism is essential for cutting across racial and ethnic divides.

Who should read Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria??

  • People seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America
  • Parents and educators who want to teach children about race
  • Those interested in social justice, equal opportunity, and democracy

Black Lives Matter Books: This Is the Fire by Don Lemon

This Is the Fire

Don Lemon
What I Say to My Friends About Racism
4.0 (28 ratings)

What's This Is the Fire about?

This is the Fire (2021) highlights the current moment as a turning point for the fight against racism in the United States. Touching on the Trump presidency, police brutality, and the global pandemic, it explores the racist history, structures, and ideas that have long plagued America, and proposes ways of using this moment to create positive change.

Who should read This Is the Fire?

  • People who want to understand racism in America
  • Those interested in social justice
  • White people looking to become better allies

Black Lives Matter Books: How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

How the Word Is Passed

Clint Smith
A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
4.5 (155 ratings)

What's How the Word Is Passed about?

How the Word Is Passed (2021) is a travelogue that underscores how slavery has shaped America’s collective history and its reality today. Nine locations serve as gateways to important stories that are hidden in plain sight. They exemplify how communities have reckoned, or not, with their roles in the history of slavery and invite us all to dig deeper into what we believe – and why.

Who should read How the Word Is Passed?

  • Anyone who wants to better understand America’s relationship with slavery
  • Community members seeking historical context on Black Lives Matter
  • Activists and history buffs interested in how the past informs the present

Black Lives Matter Books: Nice Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Nice Racism

Robin DiAngelo
How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm
3.1 (294 ratings)

What's Nice Racism about?

Nice Racism (2021) challenges everything we think we know about racism. Most racists don’t belong to the far right, and they don’t consciously support white supremacy. Instead, they’re “nice” progressive white people who commit daily microaggressions because they’ve never properly confronted their own biases. By abandoning niceness and becoming accountable instead, white people can develop into better allies in the fight for racial justice.

Who should read Nice Racism?

  • White activists seeking better tools to fight racism 
  • White would-be allies who are ready to confront their internal biases
  • Black people and people of color interested in learning more about the workings of white supremacy

Black Lives Matter Books: You Are Your Best Thing by Edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown

You Are Your Best Thing

Edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown
Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience
4.2 (94 ratings)

What's You Are Your Best Thing about?

You Are Your Best Thing (2021) is an anthology of original essays that explore Black experiences of living, loving, and parenting in America today. It examines concepts like vulnerability and shame, and shows that the key to personal healing lies in confronting white supremacy and the racist systems that make Black people feel unsafe in their communities. 

Who should read You Are Your Best Thing?

  • Black people looking for tools to heal from trauma
  • Psychology-lovers seeking new perspectives on how the personal and political intersect
  • Those who want to deepen their understanding of the impact of racism in America

Black Lives Matter Books: The Black Agenda by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

The Black Agenda

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman
Bold Solutions for a Broken System
3.5 (168 ratings)

What's The Black Agenda about?

The Black Agenda (2022) is a compilation of essays by Black experts reflecting the latest developments and challenges in diverse fields such as wellness, criminal justice, climate activism, and AI.

Who should read The Black Agenda?

  • Activists of all stripes
  • Anyone who wants to know how tech perpetuates racism
  • Anyone who wants to know how climate change and racial justice are linked

Black Lives Matter Books: Forget the Alamo by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford

Forget the Alamo

Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford
The Rise and Fall of an American Myth
4.0 (123 ratings)

What's Forget the Alamo about?

Forget the Alamo (2021) charts the history of the Alamo, both real and imagined. It looks at how a popular, heroic mythology sprung from the events of 1836 and came to represent both a noble version of Texas independence and a metaphor for American valor. Find out how the Alamo became a touchstone in American culture wars, and discover how the real story paints a not-so-virtuous picture of American history.

Who should read Forget the Alamo?

  • History buffs
  • People who enjoy Wild West stories 
  • Anyone who thinks they’re familiar with the story of the Alamo

Black Lives Matter Books: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas
4.0 (113 ratings)

What's The Hate U Give about?

The Hate U Give (2017) is a critically acclaimed coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of racism and police brutality. It follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she navigates two contrasting worlds: the poor Black neighborhood where she lives and the white prep school where she studies. Starr's attempt to strike a balance between these two worlds is shattered when she witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil, by a police officer.

Who should read The Hate U Give?

  • Social justice advocates and activists
  • Young adults exploring identity and inequality
  • Anyone interested in compelling contemporary fiction

Black Lives Matter Books: What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

What Napoleon Could Not Do

DK Nnuro
3.9 (63 ratings)

What's What Napoleon Could Not Do about?

What Napoleon Could Not Do (2023) explores the contrasting experiences of two Ghanaians, Jacob and Belinda, and their aspirations in the United States. Jacob, an awkward computer programmer who still lives with his father, wants to join his wife in America but is foiled by visa denials. His sister, Belinda, meanwhile, has studied in the US and married an American – Wilder, a prosperous Black Texan businessman. But she, too, contends with disappointment: as she waits for her green card, her perception of America is soured by racism. Their journeys reflect the allure and letdowns of life in a foreign land, and the narrative insightfully captures how each grapples with dreams both realized and thwarted.

Who should read What Napoleon Could Not Do?

  • Readers interested in immigrant experiences
  • Fans of emotional family dramas
  • Anyone who loves character-driven stories

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