"Stamped from the Beginning": Thomas Jefferson’s Paradoxical Relationship with Enslaved and Free Blacks, and the Colonization Movement

Nov 9, 2020

12:30 PM - 01:30 PM

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The UI Center for Human Rights in collaboration with the UI College of Public Health and the College of Law is honored to host Professor Sherri Burr for her lecture: Thomas Jefferson’s Paradoxical Relationship with Enslaved and Free Blacks, and the Colonization Movement. This event is part of series on the 2020 College of Public Health Book Club selection Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi.


Monday, November 9, 2020 

12:30-1:30 PM CST

Join the event at: https://uiowa.zoom.us/j/94076870047  No pre-registration is required.

This event is free and open to all campus and community members.  


Sherri Burr, the Dickason Chair in Law and Regents Professor of Law Emerita at the University of New Mexico, graduated from Mount Holyoke College, Princeton University, and the Yale Law School. Her 27th book, Complicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619-1865, was published in 2019 by Carolina Academic Press. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in History and has received several other awards. Burr serves as the Aaron Burr Association’s Third Vice-President, President of the New Mexico Press Women, and on the boards of the Albuquerque Museum Board of Trustees and the Authors Guild Foundation. In 2015, Burr became a Monticello Fellow and spent a month living on the grounds of President Jefferson’s estate while researching for her book, Complicated Lives.

The Book

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. The book was the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction and has been honored with numerous awards.

From the publisher: Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America – more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them—and in the process, gives us reason to hope.

E-book Access

The College of Law and the UI Center for Human Rights will provide the e-book to the first 50 human rights and law students who request it and are interested in attending the Nov. 9th event with Dr. Sherri Burr. To request a copy of the e-book, please let us know at uichr@uiowa.edu  


Other details

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at