Clint Smith’s book, How the Word is Passed, was absolutely once of my favorites this year. I devoured the text, and definitely put off more pressing matters in favor of reading his words.
Smith sought to reckon with slavery in America by reconciling his own personal experiences with the story of slavery. He visited many historical landmarks, interviewed tour guides and visitors, and then reflected on what he saw and what they had to say.
Although I was aware of much of the history that Smith discussed, the combination of his reflections, his interviews, and his descriptions of each place made the process of reading this book summarily enlightening. Smith’s writing is so lyrical that it almost felt like I was reading a long form poem instead of a narrative.
Honestly, I think this book is for every American. I’ve seen so many fellow teachers post about this book, and now I see why! I could see teachers assigning a chapter or two for either an English or a History class. Please pick up a copy for yourself.
From the Publisher, “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.