How the Word Is Passed
June 1, 2021  /  336 pages  /  Nonfiction
Fresh 50
# 33

In its simplest distillation, How the Word is Passed is the story of Clint Smith's visits to seven places that the work and lives of enslaved people built. Those places are Monticello in Virginia; Angola Prison in Louisiana; the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana; Blandford Cemetery in Virginia; Galveston, Texas, where the first Juneteenth was celebrated; Wall Street; and Goree Island, Senegal.

How the Word is Passed is much more than a travelogue. What Clint Smith does is show us how the history of slavery is not only relevant today but alive today. He does this by revealing how slavery is hidden in plain sight, introducing us to the men and women who have devoted their lives to understanding what so many of us do not know and, finally, by letting us walk in his shoes as he learns these truths.

It is important to briefly describe what this book is not - it is not a polemic, or another work of politics. It is not a sad procession of black death, or a weighty historical tome. What How the Word is Passed is is the living, breathing kind of history that is made unforgettable in the telling.

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