Historian and anti-racist activist Ibram X. Kendi will deliver keynote remarks to the 2021 graduating class of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. The online graduation program will take place on May 22, 2021.
Professor Kendi leads Boston University's Center for Antiracist Research and is the author of the New York Times bestseller How to Be an Antiracist. He was named among TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
"The LBJ School's focus on civil rights is part of our history and DNA: President Johnson's commitment to ending racial injustice and to creating opportunity via the Great Society changed the fabric of this country," said David Springer, interim dean of the LBJ School. "Amid a national reckoning on race and democracy in America, Professor Kendi's scholarship and leadership on anti-racism in public policy makes him a fitting choice to speak at the LBJ School's 2021 graduation."
"Amid a national reckoning on race and democracy in America, Professor Kendi’s scholarship and leadership on anti-racism in public policy makes him a fitting choice to speak at the LBJ School’s 2021 graduation." —LBJ School Interim Dean David Springer
Professor Kendi will address approximately 120 LBJ School graduate and Ph.D. students and their families in the online program. Graduates will join the ranks of 4,500 LBJ School alumni in public service careers across the world, including Nobel Peace Prize nominee and voting rights champion Stacey Abrams and leaders in government, nonprofits and corporate sectors.
"As future policy professionals, it's important that we continue to think about how to achieve equity through the policy making process," said Barbara Kufiadan, an LBJ School 2021 graduate and student leader for the Public Affairs Alliance for Communities of Color. "That achievement cannot be made without critically engaging with anti-racist work. I am so excited to have Dr. Kendi as our graduation speaker because he has used his gift of writing to share the importance of acknowledging history and thinking critically."
"I am so excited to have Dr. Kendi as our graduation speaker because he has used his gift of writing to share the importance of acknowledging history and thinking critically." —Barbara Kufiadan (MPAff '21)
"The LBJ School is full of students working to create and influence policy to change the world in hopes of creating a better future for everyone," said Madelaine Spiering, an LBJ School 2021 graduate and president of the Graduate Public Affairs Committee. "Dr. Kendi's address to this graduating class could not come at a better moment as his work moves so many of the policy professionals produced by the LBJ School. The LBJ student body continues to emulate Dr. Kendi's work in advocating to create policy rooted in anti-racism because we know that what starts here truly does change the world."
Professor Kendi will soon launch The Emancipator, a resurrection of an early 19th-century abolitionist newspaper that its contemporary founders hope will reframe the national conversation in an effort to boost racial justice.
About Ibram X. Kendi
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 and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Kendi is the 2020–21 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest ever winner of that award. He also authored three #1 New York Times bestsellers: How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. His newest books are Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action; and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, co-edited with Keisha Blain, which will be out in February. In 2020, TIME magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world.