Poet and journalist Clint Smith's debut examines the legacy of slavery in modern America, looking at historical monuments and landmarks across the country, ruminating on the ideas they represent in the narrative of our national identity and how that identity is bound to, and requires, anti-Black racism.
The detail and depth of the storytelling is vivid and visceral, making history present and real
A beautifully readable reminder of how much of our urgent, collective history resounds in places all around us that have been hidden in plain sight. Clint Smith chips away at their disguise with lyricism and grace
An important and timely book about race in America.
How the Word is Passed frees history, frees humanity to reckon honestly with the legacy of slavery. We need this book
Part of what makes this book so brilliant is its bothandedness. It is both a searching historical work and a journalistic account of how these historic sites operate today. Its both carefully researched and lyrical. I mean Smith is a poet and the sentences in this book just are piercingly alive. And it's both extremely personal-it is the author's story-and extraordinarily sweeping. It amplifies lots of other voices. Past and present. Reading it I kept thinking about that great Alice Walker line 'All History is Current'.
An extraordinary contribution to the way we understand ourselves
Clint Smith, in his new book "How the Word Is Passed," has created something subtle and extraordinary.
This isn't just a work of history, it's an intimate, active exploration of how we're still constructing and distorting our history
Sketches an impressive and deeply affecting human cartography of America's historical conscience...an extraordinary contribution to the way we understand ourselves.
Suffused with lyrical descriptions and incisive historical details, including Robert E. Lee's ruthlessness as a slave owner and early resistance by Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to the Confederate general's "deification," this is an essential consideration of how America's past informs its present.
With careful research, scholarship, and perspective, Smith underscores a necessary truth: the imprint of slavery is unyieldingly present in contemporary America, and the stories of its legacy, of the enslaved people and their descendants, are everywhere.
Through Smith's clear-eyed storytelling, he illustrates just how deeply the consequences of this intergenerational history manifest in the present day, both politically and personally.
By blending journalistic inquiry with historical insights and poetic descriptions, the author turns a complex and traumatic subject - racism and the legacy of slavery in America - into a beautiful, insightful and even enjoyable journey
In this exploration of the ways we talk about-and avoid talking about-slavery, Smith blends reportage and deep critical thinking to produce a work that interrogates both history and memory.
...a devastating portrait with unforgettable details...a vivid portrait of the extent to which venues have attempted to redress past wrongs...A brilliant, vital work about 'a crime that is still unfolding