16th Annual Black History Month Lecture: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
James Branch Cabell Library, Lecture Hall (Room 303)
901 Park Ave., Richmond, Va. 23284
Acclaimed historian and author Ibram X. Kendi discusses his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, for which he won the National Book Award. The event will be followed with a Q&A, book sale and reception.
This event is free and open to all. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad Street, West Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed, or to register offline, please call the VCU Libraries Events Office, at (804) 828-0593.
About the Speaker
Ibram X. Kendi, an award-winning historian and New York Times-bestselling author, is professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books, 2016), won the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction. At 34 years old, he was the youngest ever winner of the award for nonfiction.
About the Book
Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America—more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated and enshrined in American society.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.
Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them—and in the process, gives us reason to hope.
This event is presented by VCU Libraries and sponsored by the Friends of VCU Libraries and the Francis M. Foster African-American History Endowment Fund.
For further reading, try our African American Studies research guide.
Images: Courtesy of Ibram X. Kendi