Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.

Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America — it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.

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. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.

As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

About the Author

Ibram X. Kendi is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is an Ideas Columnist at the Atlantic and a correspondent with CBS News. He is the author of five books, including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction; the New York Times bestsellers How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, coauthored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby.

Reviews:

“An engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America…. The greatest service Kendi [provides] is the ruthless prosecution of American ideas about race for their tensions, contradiction and unintended consequences.”– Washington Post

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“A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society.”– The Atlantic

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“A staggering intellectual history of racism in America that is both rigorous and …readable.”– New Republic

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“An intricate look at the history of race in the U.S., arguing that many well-meaning American progressives inadvertently operate on belief systems tinged with a racist heritage.”– TIME

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“Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism.”
Seattle Times

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“Kendi upends many commonly held beliefs about how racism works, exploring the ideas and thinkers behind our most intractable social and cultural problem.”– Boston Globe

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