(Photo by Carletta Girma)
Join us in the Big Tent as we celebrate Dr. Clint Smith’s New York Times bestselling book, How the Word Is Passed, with dinner, a reception, and the presentation of the Stowe Prize.
In 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—on which the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.
Informed by scholarship and brought alive by the story of people living today, How the Word Is Passed is a landmark work 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 came to be.
Dr. Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. How the Word Is Passed was a number one New York Times bestseller and was named one of the ten best books of 2021 by the New York Times Book Review. Dr. Smith’s poetry collection, Counting Descent, won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received numerous awards and honors, including fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Emerson Collective, the Art for Justice Fund, and Cave Canem. His essays, poems, and scholarly articles have been published in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The Paris Review, among others. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize for the American Poetry Review. He received his B.A. from Davidson College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is host of the YouTube series Crash Course Black American History and was previously a high school English teacher.
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“A work of moral force and humility, How the Word Is Passed offers a compelling account of the history and memory of slavery in America. Writing from Confederate Army cemeteries, former plantations, modern-day prisons, and other historical sites, Clint Smith moves seamlessly between past and present, revealing how slavery is remembered and misremembered—and why it matters. Engaging and wise, this book combines history and reportage, poem and memoir. It is a deep lesson and a reckoning.”
―Matthew Desmond, winner of the 2017 Stowe Prize for Evicted