A controversial plan by the Anchorage Public Library system to push the idea that America is a racist nation from the ground up is receiving community pushback.

Library Director Mary Jo Torgeson noted as much during her monthly report which will be discussed at the Jan. 20 Library Advisory Board meeting in Anchorage. The online meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Under Torgeson’s leadership, Anchorage Libraries are using the annual “Anchorage Reads” program to host a six-month, community-wide discussion on the book, “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist ideas in America,” by Ibram X. Kendi. The book pushes the idea that Americans are steeped in racism which manifests through systemic racism in education, law enforcement, housing, lending, health care and more. For younger readers, there is a youth-oriented version of the book.

Torgeson, noted that the program has fueled controversy.

“Anchorage reads has received publicized pushback from conservative media in Anchorage,” she states in her most recent report.

The author of “Stamped from the Beginning,” Ibram X. Kendi, has come under criticism for asserting that all disparities between blacks and whites are attributable to racist policies and what he claims is America’s fundamentally racist founding. According to Kendi, a person is a racist if they fail to acknowledge that all inequalities are due to racist policies. But he goes even further, seeing racism in nearly every corner of life, including the subconscious mind.

Last fall, he ridiculed President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, because her family adopted two children from Haiti. Hailed as a woke prophet of “antiracism,” Kendi posted a scathing Tweet against the Barretts.

“Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children,” Kendi asserted. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.”

The reading of Kendi’s book through the Anchorage Library program is sponsored in part by a large donation from the Anchorage Education Association. The teachers’ union donated $3,500 towards the program, and is incentivising local teachers to participate by offering continuing education credits.


  • Click here to participate in the Jan. 20 Library Advisory Board meeting. Once you sign into the telephonic meeting, you must let the board president know you would like to speak during public comment.
  • Click here to read more about the Anchorage Library’s 2021 “Stamped from the Beginning” community-wide reading and discussion outreach program.

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Anchorage libraries get pushback on program aimed at framing America as racist

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • JANE ALASKA says:


  • Michael S Totten says:

    The author they are pushing grew up in privilage. And he wants to educate everybody on the STRUGGLE. That’s friggen rich.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    “Stamped from the Beginning” could be considered racist in and of itself! This fuels even more discord among us as Americans … Freedom has evolved over time just to bring us to this point of dissention… I hope not!
    Gods guidance is only in the hearts of those that seek Love in all corners of action & thought! Love is Freedom not divide !

  • Mongo Like Candy says: The plan as described by an ex-KGB operative

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    The selected books are not useful to describe the start up of America with its Founding Principles and the US Constitution based on judeo-Christian principles. Truth is that morality there is no freedom. This movement to accuse us of racism is against the Constitution which protects Individual Rights NOT group rights which is a Leftist/Marxist philosophy. We each have rights as individuals and even unborn individuals. Our rights are not given to us as a group. That is the social justice movement which is socialist, marxist, leftist, Leninist, Utopian and any number of various names. We are not racist but individuals with rights as individuals and that is what is in the Constitution. The librarians are copying what is trending everywhere. No individual thought there. Who is this author who has authority to define us?

    • Lan w says:

      You make the most sense! Please run for office! You will get all the votes! Folks with common sense are far and few…..

    • Alberto Brandolini says:

      Thomas Jefferson would completely disagree with you.
      Hence the separation of church and state.

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        Separation of church and state was intended to keep the state out of church business. And there is no way around it, our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. Sorry you won’t be able to disprove that. Even non-Christian historians, the honest ones, know that.

  • Bea McCormick says:

    I would like to know if the Anchorage libraries use any type of reporting software to identify circulation rates by item category, or other variables. If so, are they adjusting their acquisition and programming policies to coincide with the types of popular materials/subjects indicated for the majority of their demographic? It certainly appears, with this systemic racism program, drag queen storytime for kids, etc, that they’re simply pushing a liberal progressive sociopolitical agenda instead of fairly and properly managing all their patron’s needs.

  • Alaska Voter says:

    The Day after MLK Day and they can not come to grasp that even the Late Great Reverend King wanted his children and all children to be judge on their character and not by the color of their skin. It would be best advised if todays society were to listen closely and adhere to his speeches and the teachings of the Bible for educating our children. Never before in my 57 years on this planet have I seen so much divide by the left. President Kennedy would be consider Right wing by todays Democratic Party.

    • Alberto Brandolini says:

      King talked not only about racial justice, but specifically addressed “the unspeakable horrors of police brutality” wreaked upon blacks, twice.
      The speech is 15 minutes long and if he were alive today you’d believe every bad word this publication would write about him.

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        During Dr. Kings time that was indeed happening. But in his wisdom he saw the need for unity as opposed to division, and one race (human). No one is better than anyone else, we are all, no matter what shade our skin may be, created in the image of God. We are all equal. Identity politics and racial Gnosticism will cure nothing and is more vengeance than solution, creating massive division and fueling hatred. Dr. King would be rolling in his grave were he not in heaven with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Rebecca Crelley says:

    God places value on every person born on the planet. His heart is that each person know their true worth and that they are loved. If the word of god is not taught, then others will teach or learn to be fearful of others who are different. This is where racism and hate start. It didn’t start with the Constitution which was based on individual or state or city govt. Our govt is to be based on our personal governing from what good is within us which God places in us. That’s what real equality is about.

  • Alaska Independence says:

    This isn’t about left or right anymore, anyone falling for the Biden and Trump Olympics has been fooled. The deep state is angry and the constitution is dead. Vote AIP and let’s prepare for the collapse.

    • Alberto Brandolini says:

      Keep pushing the fear
      I remember when Obama was gonna take all our guns and throw us in trains and was actually the devil himself

      Grow up

      • Alaska Independence says:

        I am not pushing fear my friend, I am only suggesting an alternate path.

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        President Obama indeed did try to restrict gun ownership, and wanted to. Hmmm, never heard about trains or satan. Not sure where that is coming from. What we are seeing now though affects each and every one of us, politics aside.

  • RS says:

    APL has become a bigoted echo-chamber under Torgeson and the current Assembly. This reading choice is manufactued to foment hatred and falsehood and does nothing to serve the community. I support pushback and no, Mary Jo, I’m not a “conservative.” Defund APL and AEA, reimburse taxpayers for this inane use of public funds, and revise this year’s “Anchorage Reads” material to the United States Constitution ~ which is a more thoughtful, historic, and revolutionary text in every possible aspect.

  • Lawrence Wood says:

    Just more Marxist division.
    Fire the librarian and get someone in the position who is interested in literacy, not ideology.