Philip Keith for TIME

As we march to dramatize the assaults on Black men and women by law enforcement, we also turn to Ibram X. Kendi for his historical insight and deep understanding of the ongoing fight for social justice and civil rights in this country.

The battle to free our nation from its racist past, as Kendi brilliantly notes in his book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, is hardly new. From slavery through Reconstruction, to the advent of Jim and Jane Crow, Black people have always had to be the architects of our own freedom and liberation.

It is no surprise that Kendi has emerged as one of the most important scholars of his generation, accurately interpreting the civil rights gains and losses across the many years. But Kendi doesn’t simply engage in the “paralysis of analysis,” as Martin Luther King Jr. once observed. He provides concrete and actionable steps and recommendations that we can all take to wipe out the vestiges of racism and bigotry and strive to be—to use the term Kendi popularized in 2019­—antiracist.

Sharpton is founder and president of National Action Network, host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC and author of Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads

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