How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

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.


Dr. Smith’s 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.