BookBrowse Reviews How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

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How the Word Is Passed

A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

by Clint Smith

How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith X
How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith
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  • Published:
    Jun 2021, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rose Rankin
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A masterful exploration of the physical legacy of slavery in America.

With legislatures around the U.S. rushing to ban the teaching of critical race theory, it's clear that the backlash against an honest appraisal of systemic racism remains virulent and damaging. It's this reactionism that makes How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith not just timely but vital to the discussion of race in the U.S. and beyond.

The book unfolds as a series of vignettes capturing Smith's travels around the U.S. and West Africa, visiting sites with a direct connection to chattel slavery. It begins, understandably, with plantations that are now historical sites. He visits two — Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home where the tours and material culture (objects produced or used by humans) don't adequately address its role as a plantation populated by slaves, and Whitney in Louisiana, where that legacy is on full ...

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