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Get to Know Portland Arts & Lectures Author Ibram X. Kendi


Click on the above PDF program of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s February 18, 2021 Portland Arts & Lectures appearance.

On February 18, Literary Arts will host Dr. Ibram X. Kendi as a part of our 2020-21 season of Portland Arts & Lectures. Kendi is the author of Stamped from the Begining: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

He is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a young adult remix of Stamped from the Beginning, co-authored with Jason Reynolds, as well as the #1 Indie bestseller Antiracist Baby, available as a board book and picture book for caretakers and little ones, and The Black Campus Movement, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize.

Most recently, alongside the award-winning historian Dr. Keisha N. Blain, Kendi edited the newly released Four Hundred Souls, a choral history of African America covering four hundred years in the voices of ninety writers. 

In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi explores racism through the lens of personal experience. In this recorded interview with Jenn White for NPR’s Reset, Kendi talks about why he chose to share some of his most private moments with the world.

“I knew that the heartbeat of anti-racism itself is confession, and so I wanted to model that in sharing my own personal story.”

Dr. Kendi made the TIME100 list of Most Influential People of 2020. Read more in this interview.

Which authors have helped shape him as a person? What books are on his personal reading list? And how does he use his own writing to navigate truth?

Kendi answers these questions and more in this interview with PEN America.

“Navigating truth is my writing. As a scholar, I am not striving to be objective. I am striving to share the truth, even when the truth challenges me and my ideas.”

In this article published in Time Magazine, Kendi asserts that we are currently experiencing a Black Renaissance in America.

Read how he sees contemporary Black creatives uplift each other and stir Black people to be themselves “Totally. Unapologetically. Freely.”

“We are creating our immensity. No creator should have to tone down their individuality in the chorus of Blackness. We are telling America to tone down its anti-Black racism; and its sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism and nativism; and all the ways those isms intersect; and all their violence.”

Dr. Kendi’s latest book–Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, co-edited with Keisha N. Blain–brings together a “choir” of writers to tell the history of African America.

Read about the inspiration for this ambitious project and the process of bringing it to life in this interview with Boston.com.

“What Black people have been able to achieve in this country, despite what they have faced, really speaks to just the soul of humanity.”

One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’ The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.”

From How to Be an Antiracist

For an extra dose of fun and style: Check out this Essence Magazine feature detailing Dr. Kendi’s romantic, Jamaican beach wedding to his wife, Sadiqa, in 2013.

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