How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
نویسنده: Clint Smith
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.
It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation–turned–maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.
A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.
Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith’s debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.
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Goodreads users review :
Clint Smith can write. This is mostly history with a little personal perspective sprinkled in. A really approachable way to interrogate history and the ways we (mostly focused on Americans) are taught and pass on the legacy of slavery. This is a real look at living history. Well done. Traci at The Stacks rated it: 5.0 from 5.0
How the Word is Passed is a book that deserves a place in today’s high school and college curriculum as well as personal reading libraries. The essays are more than the sum of their parts – part research, part history, part personal, part story, part poetic writing, part travelogue, part thoughtful reflection – each part combining to provide a fuller, more accurate account of US history. I read this slowly (not my typical reading style) really taking in each chapter individually in order not to rush through what I needed to unlearn, relearn and process. Highly recommend! Susan Barber rated it: 5.0 from 5.0
I lack the intelligence to communicate how good and essential this book feels so, like, you should just read it, bro Reading it felt like it answered that drum beat of “how can they THINK that?” that I experience whenever I watch people wave a Confederate flag. There aren’t easy answers anywhere to be found in this book, which is a testament to Smith’s research, talent and wisdom. Maggie Tokuda-Hall rated it: 5.0 from 5.0