Clint Smith, On America's Reckoning With The Brutal History Of Slavery
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are about 2,000 Confederate Monuments in the United States. Baltimore took down four of its confederate monuments in 2017. In writer Clint Smith’s hometown of New Orleans, the city has also removed four monuments. But as he reports in his recent book, at least 100 statues, parks, and streets in the Big Easy are still named after Confederate figures.
The book is called How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America. In this compelling, insightful and probing work, Dr. Smith takes us on a tour of sites that are important, in different ways, to understanding how America is confronting the legacy of slavery.
It’s a diary of visits to 8 sites across the United States and one in Senegal, Africa, with Smith’s reflections on how the history of each place is told, the decisions about what to include, what to ignore, and what is fabricated to create a particular, false narrative.
Clint Smith holds a PhD in Education from Harvard. He’s an award-winning poet, and a staff writer at The Atlantic. In the context of the uproar over Critical Race Theory and attempts to outright ban teaching about slavery and the history of race in America, Dr. Smith has produced a timely, beautifully written, and deeply personal account of how we reckon with America’s original sin.
Clint Smith joins us on Zoom from Silver Spring, Maryland.