Current and former members of the MU English Department attended the Midtown Scholar Bookstore‘s Harrisburg Book Festival this weekend. On Friday, Dr. Ibram Kendi discussed ideas from his book Stamped for the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, the 2016 winner of the National Book Award. The Midtown Scholar was packed to hear the insights of the youngest scholar to win the National Book Award for Non-Fiction.
The evening began with Harrisburg Mayor Papenfuse welcoming everyone to the event, and thanking sponsors, including Millersville University’s English Department. He also thanked event organizer and Bookstore manager, Alex Brubaker, who is a Millersville University English and Philosophy double major graduate. Alex was instrumental in bringing the excellent line-up for this series to the region.
Kendi spoke about his ideas and read from his book for about 30 minutes, and then took many questions from the very engaged audience. Kendi identified racist, assimilationist, anti-racist ideas and how these make an impact on our progress as a society. He warned about the negative consequences of not addressing the racial inequities that plague American and other societies. Kendi provided insights into the history of racist ideas that included polygenesis and other concepts set forth to attempt to justify social inequities.
The audience was keen to explore the history and terminology that Kendi put forth. Kendi stayed after the lecture to sign copies of his book. Many in the audience stayed around to discuss the ideas and their import. This type of intellectual interchange can be the heart of university experience.
Kendi will be coming to Millersville in March.