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

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Clint Smith

Narrated By: Clint Smith

Date: June 2021

Duration: 10 hours 7 minutes

Summary:

"We need this book." —Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to be an Anti-Racist

The Atlantic staff writer and poet Clint Smith's revealing, contemporary portrait of America as a slave owning nation

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.

It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation–turned–maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.

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, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.

Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith’s debut work of nonfiction is a landmark 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 has come to be.

Genres:

  • eviesings4joy@yahoo.com

    Wonderful depiction of important history that many may not be aware of. Deep, disturbing and profound. The narrator was outstanding! Because as he was also the author, he fully understood what was needed and how it must be done to move his readers.

  • David Q.

    Book reviews inherently reflect the likes and dislikes of the reviewer; I’m sure my review will be no different. Overall, I liked the book. I learned a lot about early American social history, and the role that chattel slavery played in our becoming a nation as well as the development of our nationality. Most of the interviews and physical descriptions of the slave economy were very revealing, as their substance certainly was not part of my formal education. The book ‘takes the reader there’ to witness and in many cases to relive the the moments being described. In this regard, the book was fascinating and revealing. The author, being Black himself, was able to put me, a White male, behind his eyes and into his mind as he painted scene after scene of the struggles and inequities endured by those bound by slavery. The accomplishments made by many people despite unimaginable hardships were fascinating to learn. However, as my interest in the book’s title was my reason to read it, I got the feeling as the read continued that I was reading a personal manifesto of sorts and not just a historical presentation. This I was not expecting. Mr. Smith’s reading gave me some inflectional challenges as his voice ‘drops off’ at the ends of his sentences. All-in-all it was a very good read. I learned a lot I didn’t know, and last I knew, a main purpose of reading is to expand one’s knowledge and experience, and this book certainly does not disappoint.

  • Susan S.

    Excellent book. The writing is beautiful. And the sites he reports on give another layer of understanding to the story of African Americans in the United States.

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

by Clint Smith

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How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith
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This title is due for release on June 1, 2021
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