About Ibram X. Kendi
IBRAM X. KENDI, AN AWARD-WINNING HISTORIAN AND NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic. His second book, STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF RACIST IDEAS IN AMERICA, was published by Nation Books and won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. He grew up dreaming about playing in the NBA (National Basketball Association), and ironically he ended up joining the other NBA.
Kendi is a hardcore humanist and softcore vegan who enjoys joking it up with friends and family, partaking in African American culture, weight-lifting, reading provocative non-fiction books, discussing the issues of the day with open-minded people, and hoping and pressing for the day the New York Knicks will win an NBA championship and for the day this nation and world will be ruled by the best of humanity.
Kendi was born in 1982 to parents who came of age during the Black power movement in New York City. They were student activists and Christians inspired by Black liberation theology. While Kendi was in high school, his family moved from Jamaica, Queens, to Manassas, Virginia. He traveled further south and attended Florida A&M University, where he majored in journalism. He initially aspired for a career in sports journalism, freelancing for several Florida newspapers, and interning at USA Today Sports Weekly, as well as in the sports sections of the Mobile Register and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. By the end of his tenure at FAMU, he had become alienated from sports journalism and increasingly interested in engaging in racial justice work. He picked up a second major in African American Studies and graduated in 2004.
After working for a time as a journalist at The Virginian Pilot, Kendi pursued his graduate studies. He earned his doctoral degree in African American Studies from Temple University in 2010. The year before, Kendi began his career as an assistant professor of African American history at SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Albany in upstate New York, before moving on to the University of Florida, and now AU.
Kendi has published fourteen essays in books and academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.
Kendi is the author of the award-winning book on Black student activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, THE BLACK CAMPUS MOVEMENT. It was published in March 2012 as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Contemporary Black History Series.
The next year, he changed his middle name from Henry to Xolani (meaning "Peace" in Zulu) and surname from Rogers to Kendi when he wed Sadiqa Kendi, a pediatric emergency physician from Albany, Georgia. They chose their new name together and unveiled “Kendi,” meaning "loved one" in Meru, to their family and friends at their wedding. Their wedding photos, including Sadiqa's beautiful gold dress, were featured in Essence Magazine.
Kendi has been visiting professor at Brown University, a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. He has also resided at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress as the American Historical Association’s 2010-2011 J. Franklin Jameson Fellow in American History. In the summer of 2011, he lived in Chicago as a short-term fellow in African American Studies through the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. He has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of other universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, University of Chicago, Wayne State University, Emory University, Duke University, Princeton University, UCLA, Washington University, Wake Forest University, and the historical societies of Kentucky and Southern California.
A frequent speaker and contributor of op-eds, Kendi has written for several periodicals including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Root, Salon, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Time, Signature, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is currently working on his next book, HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, which will be published in 2019 by One World, a division of Penguin Random House.