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Ibram X. Kendi to deliver annual lecture on race relations at ASU

Portrait of Ibram X. Kendi.

Ibram X. Kendi

February 08, 2023

Ibram X. Kendi, a New York Times bestselling author and professor at Boston University, will be the featured speaker at the 2023 A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.

The author of highly acclaimed books including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, Kendi has produced five No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, including his two latest books, “How to Raise an Antiracist” and the picture book “Goodnight Racism.”

Kendi is also the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor.

The New York City native earned a degree in journalism and started his career interning for sports sections of several newspapers. While in college, Kendi’s interest in engaging with racial justice work increased.

Kendi added a second major in African American studies and graduated in 2004.

He later earned his master's degree in African American studies and began teaching as a visiting professor at several American universities as well as delivering speeches throughout the country.

Kendi was also named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant.

“In 2020, Arizona State University President Michael Crow committed the university to increase the support of The College’s annual A. Wade Smith Lecture series,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Since the lecture was established over two decades ago, this event has welcomed a distinguished guest to our ASU community to discuss important issues of race and society. We are pleased for the opportunity to welcome Ibram X. Kendi as this year’s featured speaker.”

About the A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations

The A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations was created in 1995 to perpetuate Smith’s tireless efforts to improve race relations across ASU campuses and within the greater community.

It is among 25 engagements ASU has pledged to support in the enhancement of the lived and Iearning experiences of Black students, staff and faculty through the LIFT initiative — itself inspired by ASU’s objectives and aspirations to transform society, enable student success and engage globally. 

The A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture is the only endowed lecture at any college or university with a rich 20-year history featuring renowned scholarly experts on race relations.

Upon Moore's passing in 2022, the lecture was renamed in her honor for her devotion to ASU as a beloved faculty member and pioneer in diversity, equity and inclusion. Both Smith and Moore devoted their lives to the idea of racial parity. 

The lecture will be held in the Senita Ballroom at the Student Pavilion on the Tempe campus at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13.

Note: A previous version of this story had the location in Armstrong Hall. It has been moved.

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