Review: Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

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

Author: Ibram X. Kendi

Genre: Nonfiction, History

Format: Paperback

Pages: 582

Dates Read: September 30, 2020

5 stars
5 stars – I loved it!

Stamped From the Beginning discusses the history of racism and racist ideas in America. Kendi focuses on five main people who have made the biggest impact on racism and anti-racism in our history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. 

“When men oppress their fellow-men, the oppressor ever finds, in the character of the oppressed, a full justification for his oppression.” Douglass, amazingly, summed up the history of racist ideas in a single sentence.” – (Fredrick Douglass)

This was an incredibly powerful and educational book. I knew going into this book that the United States education system has failed at teaching the history of slavery, emancipation,  Jim Crow, and the continued struggle. But it still amazed me at how much it doesn’t teach. With every single chapter I learned new things that should have been taught to me in school. 

While this is a very large book filled with history, it was an easy read. Normally I would have read this book in a few days but instead I stretched it out over a month and a half. I read, reflected, took notes, did more research and I still know that I have a lot to learn. My book is now covered in sticky notes and I know I will be rereading this in the future because I know I missed stuff. 

“That is what it truly means to think as an antiracist: to think there is nothing wrong with Black people, to think that racial groups are equal. There are lazy and unwise and harmful individuals of African ancestry. There are lazy and unwise and harmful individuals of European ancestry. There are industrious and wise and harmless individuals of European ancestry. There are industrious and wise and harmless individuals of African ancestry. But no racial group has ever had a monopoly on any type of human trait or gene—not now, not ever.”

This book changed the way I viewed the history of the United States. So much of this history has been glossed over by the education system, and other history books. This book should be required reading for everyone especially since the education system won’t teach us the true history of the United States. All I can say is, READ THIS BOOK!


Goodreads / Amazon



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