Seminars & Training

1. The Origins of Race and Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. (Colonial Era).

Understanding how anti-Black racism first developed in our nation gives us great insight into racism and race relations today. This 90-minute remote seminar, which is followed by an optional 1-hour discussion, addresses the following questions:

  • How and why were the “Black” and “White” “races” developed?
  • How and why did anti-Black Racism first develop in the U.S. (Colonial era)?

The seminar-discussion can be adapted to meet the needs of adults, U.S. History teachers (“teach the teacher”), students and their parents/guardians, institutional workplaces, alumni associations, book clubs, fraternity and sorority chapters, Jack and Jill groups and faith groups. Free trial session available to one representative of interested groups. To book a session, email me at

The big ideas and conceptual frameworks in this seminar are:

  1. Early Colonial America (early to mid 1600s) was essentially a class-based society. Blacks and Whites of the same class generally got along. Racial identity/status existed, but was subordinate to class (and religious) identity/status. Anti-Black bias/prejudice existed, but racism as a systemic societal and legal construct/system had not yet been constructed. (primary sources)
  1. Initially, slavery was neither lifelong nor inheritable, and was not legally associated with race. It took about 75 years for chattel slavery to develop in the colonies.
  1. Early Colonial America was home to a prosperous community of Free Blacks. A few were wealthy large landowners who owned indentured whites and enslaved Blacks, voted, and held office. (primary sources)
  1. Interracial marriages and mixed-race children were not uncommon. (primary sources)
  1. Colonial elites faced several class rebellions of poor Whites allied with poor Blacks.
  1. Race is a social construct; our nation’s racial binary is arbitrary and unique.
  1. Racism = Prejudice + Power/Law.
  1. Racism did not lead to slavery; rather, slavery lead to racism.
  1. Political and economic elites constructed racism by intensifying and codifying natural anti-Black societal bias/prejudice. 
  1. Racism and slavery were supported and justified by racist stereotypes, white Christianity and Enlightenment ideas, and later by pseudoscience/eugenics.
  1. Racism (the myth of Black racial inferiority) was the narrative that white elites/slave owners created (“the story we tell”) to:

a) Uphold slavery and white supremacy (economic interests) and 

b) Divide poor Whites and Blacks (political interests),

  1. Systemic racism consists not only of racial bias/prejudice but also the underlying economic and political structures/incentives that these racial narratives justify.
  1. “[Our] history makes clear that systemic racism as it developed in the United States was not an inevitability, it was a series of intentional choices. If the framework for white supremacy was deliberately built in this country, it can also be deliberately dismantled”.    —Vanessa Williamson, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute
  • This is an evidence-based curriculum that will help students understand the history of racism in a non-judgmental way.
  • Ayo’s sessions—more than any other training, text, or preparation — empower and equip me to be the anti-racist teacher I aspire to be.
  • The class powerfully roots racism and race in the country with facts, history, and systemic causes. This is not a theater of woeness.
  • “Origins of Racism” was one of the most engaging, thought-provoking, and educational classes I’ve ever attended. 
  • Ayo Magwood’s anti-racism class is well-researched, informative, and bold. Magwood never shrinks from the psychological, social, and legal truths buried or just plain omitted from America’s telling of its past. Educators can take innovative approaches and strategies back to their classrooms. 
  • I was motivated to take this class to fill in what I didn’t learn in high school and college and came away learning in an hour and a half a semester’s worth of understanding that I was never offered. 
  • I especially enjoyed learning with my teenage daughter and the discussions we have been able to have from all of the material we learned.
  • My son was able to be an active participant in this important dialogue with kids of other races, read primary sources that are not readily available but added to his fund of knowledge, and is better equipped to identify economic, social, and political Influences that support and perpetuate oppression to understand his role in dismantling it. In his words, “It is a really, really good class.” 

%d bloggers like this: