Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation to host acclaimed author Ibram X. Kendi ‘In Conversation’


By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation to host acclaimed author Ibram X. Kendi ‘In Conversation’
Ibram Kendi
Photo/Stephen Voss

Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation will be hosting a virtual conversation  with acclaimed author and anti-racism activist Ibram Kendi, for the first event in its “Distinguished Author” series on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, at 7 p.m.

The 45 minute “In Conversation” session will focus on “The Difference Between Being Not Racist and Anti-racist,” and will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer series.

Kendi is a professor at Boston University where he is also the director of the Center for Antiracist Research. He is the bestselling author of “How To Be An Antiracist” and was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list.

“Professor Kendi is the person of the moment; he is such a cultural icon,” Shrewsbury Public Library Director Priya Rathnam said.

Presently, Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Formerly, he was a professor of history and international relations at the College of Arts and Sciences and School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C. and he also served as a visiting professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Among his other award-winning books are “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and New York Times bestsellers, “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” and “Antiracist Baby.”

“It’s been such a dominating conversation [racism] in the country and in our community,” Rathnam said.

“We are focusing on these kinds of presentations, conversations that our community can participate in and I’ve gotten such a great response from the school community, the student bodies, the teachers, the superintendent and assistant superintendents…there is a lot of focus on diversity and inclusion,” she added.

“I think our community is being so proactive in providing a forum for conversation, dialogue and listening to each other and learning from each other,” she said.

Rathnam shared that she felt it was her responsibility as a librarian to help facilitate these opportunities.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Foundation Board and we are really grateful for their sponsoring this event,” she noted.

Rathnam explained that while the Shrewsbury Public Library Friends’ Board supports current programs and services offered at the library, the Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation Board is future-focused, with an eye towards long-term improvements that will serve current and future generations.

Kendi’s “In Conversation” has already garnered over 200 registrations. It can accommodate 500.

To register, visit the online calendar:

and scroll to the date of the event. Registrants will receive an invite to the Zoom webinar.

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