Colson Whitehead won the top fiction award for his novel “The Underground Railroad.” Ibram X. Kendi won the top nonfiction award for “Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas
in America,” and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, won the National Book Award for his graphic novel “March: Book Three,” the third installment of Lewis’s civil rights memoir.
Lewis is a Democrat from Georgia.
The trilogy, which about 1965 march to Selma, Ala., is written by Lewis, Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell. Lewis’s book is a breakthrough novel because graphic novels have been named finalists for the National Book Award five times but have never won.
In his book, Kendi chronicles the history of anti-black racist ideas and their power over American history.
“Stamped from the Beginning” uses the life stories of five major
American intellectuals to provide a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists, according to the National Book Foundation, which awards the National Book Awards.
Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” is about the horror of American slavery and the sinister permutations of racism, according to the New York Times.