A striking graphic novel edition of the National Book Award-winning history of how racist ideas have shaped American life—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist.
Racism has persisted throughout history—but so have antiracist efforts to dismantle it. Through deep research and a gripping narrative that illuminates the lives of five key American figures, preeminent historian Ibram X. Kendi reveals how understanding and improving the world cannot happen without identifying and facing the racist forces that shape it.
In collaboration with award-winning historian and comic artist Joel Christian Gill, this stunningly illustrated graphic-novel adaptation of Dr. Kendi’s groundbreaking Stamped from the Beginning explores, with vivid clarity and dimensionality, the living history of America, and how we can learn from the past to work toward a more equitable, antiracist future.
About the Author
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Dr. Kendi is the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest winner of that award. He also produced five #1 New York Times bestsellers, including How to Be an Antiracist, Antiracist Baby, and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored by Jason Reynolds. In 2020, Time magazine named Dr. Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant.
Joel Christian Gill is the Chair of the MFA in Visual Narrative at Boston University. He is a cartoonist and historian who speaks nationally on the importance of sharing stories. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fights: One Boy's Triumph Over Violence, cited as one of the best graphic novels of 2020 by The New York Times and for which he was awarded the 2021 Cartoonist Studio Prize. He wrote the words and drew the pictures for Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride and the award-winning graphic novel series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, and Tales of The Talented Tenth, which tell the stories of Bass Reeves, Bessie Stringfield, and Robert Smalls.
“This is an unvarnished, unapologetic, unflinching, and appropriately snarky tale of the mess we are in.”—W. Kamau Bell, Emmy award-winning executive producer, New York Times bestselling author, and comedian
“An essential new approach to understanding centuries of systemic power dynamics throughout our society, from our shared history to possible futures.”—Nate Powell, award-winning cartoonist of the March trilogy and Save It for Later
“A book that educates and entertains in a way that makes it an indispensable teaching tool, while simultaneously establishing Gill is a master of this medium.”—David F. Walker, author of The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History
“This essential adaptation gives the visual learner something to hold onto while being flown through centuries of history and the ideas that helped shape them. The notion that IDEAS can shape history was so hard for me to grasp as a young person; a book that helps people see how racist ideas have shaped our past and present is vital for writing a new direction for humanity’s future.”—Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir
“Educational and entertaining, Stamped from the Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America is a tour de force by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Joel Christian Gill. This graphic novel takes full advantage of the medium by offering visuals that clarify and complicate an antiracist view of history.”—Maurice Carlos Ruffin, author of We Cast a Shadow
“Engaging, educational, and wryly funny at times, this graphic adaptation of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning provides a heartfelt and hard-hitting look at American history that works as a primer for younger readers without underestimating their experience with racism or their capacity to make the world a better place. Joel Christian Gill's illustrations make the past feel more concrete and give readers of all ages a new way to connect to the material.”—Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists
“Buckle up. Joel Christian Gill and Ibram X. Kendi are absolutely unapologetic. Together, they deliver the facts and will transform everything you thought you already knew about race and racism. This is the one that will provoke the conversations so desperately needed at home, at school, and at work. A masterpiece that can help us grapple with hard truths.”—Safiya Umoja Noble, MacArthur Fellow and author of Algorithms of Oppression
“The graphic novel adaptation of Stamped from the Beginning is an index of two rhetorical masters at the top of their game. The original publication is arguably one of the most important books of the last fifty years and Joel Christian Gill's wondrous acumen as a cartoonist and historian fuses with the brilliance of Ibram X. Kendi's prose to create a powerful visual artifact that will move readers and inspire change for generations to come.”—John Jennings, co-author of My Superhero Is Black and Eisner Award-winning illustrator of Octavia Butler’s Kindred
“Joel Christian Gill’s adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s seminal book is spirited, freshly contemporary, and wholly unique. Engaging and comprehensive, it promises to be a useful tool in combating destructive, false, and stubbornly held beliefs that have plagued us for far too long. A must for lovers of graphic non-fiction and American History.”—Johnnie Christmas, #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, author of Swim Team, and co-creator of Angel Catbird
“If knowledge is power, this extraordinary illustrated overview of America’s racist history is a whole star. Shedding light on where we’ve come from and how we might grow beyond it, Dr. Kendi’s work asks us to imagine a wholeness we’ve only caught glimpses of, and to reach for it with smarter policies and braver hearts.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk