Skip to main content
Trade Books For Courses Tradebooks for Courses

An Abolitionist's Handbook

12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World

Patrisse Cullors

St. Martin's Griffin

opens in a new window
opens in a new window An Abolitionist's Handbook Download image

ISBN10: 1250775213
ISBN13: 9781250775214

Trade Paperback

288 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

In An Abolitionist's Handbook, Cullors charts a framework for how everyday activists can effectively fight for an abolitionist present and future. Filled with relatable pedagogy on the history of abolition, a reimagining of what reparations look like for Black lives and real-life anecdotes from Cullors, An Abolitionist's Handbook offers a bold, innovative, and humanistic approach to how to be a modern-day abolitionist. Cullors asks us to lead with love, fierce compassion, and precision.

In An Abolitionist's Handbook readers will learn how to:

- have courageous conversations
- move away from reaction and towards response
- take care of oneself while fighting for others
- turn inter-community conflict into a transformative action
- expand one’s imagination, think creatively, and find the courage to experiment
- make justice joyful
- practice active forgiveness
- make space for difficult feelings and honor mental health
- practice non-harm and cultivate compassion
- organize local and national governments to work towards abolition
- move away from cancel culture

An Abolitionist's Handbook is for those who are looking to reimagine a world where communities are treated with dignity, care and respect. It gives us permission to move away from cancel culture and into visioning change and healing.


Praise for An Abolitionist's Handbook

"If we’re serious about real change . . . we’re going to need a handbook. Patrisse Cullors, one of the original cofounders of the Black Lives Matter movement, teaches how to build an activism practice from a place of compassion and love."Glamour

"Although An Abolitionist's Handbook contains instructions on how to enact Black liberation and the liberation of underserved communities; how to fight imperialism, white supremacy, and colonialism, and details on dismantling the prison industrial system and other harmful structures, it’s also imbued with stories from Cullors’s upbringing as a young Black woman in the United States, her experiences in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the lessons she’s learned along the way."W Magazine

"In her new book, An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World, Patrisse Cullors starts with courageous conversations . . . These conversations typically arise out of our lived experiences. They are conversations we have because we care. They are conversations that first start with us."Yes! Magazine

"Advocating for a new world is draining work, yet can also be liberatory if the right tools are used. Fortunately, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Patrisse Cullors has crafted the framework for activists to create an abolitionist future."Black Girl Nerds

"Cullors offers a wide range of strategies for activists who share her view that you can’t always fix a broken system."Kirkus Reviews

"Recommended for all readers interested in social change activism, particularly prison reform and the defund-the-police movement."Library Journal

"Her guidance on how to achieve personal and social transformation is enlightening. Readers will be inspired to take action." Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



I met Patrisse many years ago around the same time I was introduced to abolition. I met her (her father, too) at a fundraiser for a mutual friend’s brother who had just recently...

About the author

Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors is an author of the New York Times bestseller When They Call You a Terrorist, educator, artist, and abolitionist from Los Angeles. She is the co-founder of the Crenshaw Dairy Mart and has been on the frontlines of the abolitionist movement with Black Lives Matter, Justice LA, Dignity and Power Now, and Reform LA jails. Also the founder of The Center For Art and Abolition, Cullors has popularized the term “Abolitionist Aesthetics” to challenge artists to aestheticize abolition.

Ryan Pfluger

Read Author Interview at TeenVogue