Clint Smith: How the Word is Passed
December 6, 2021 @ 7:00 pm
- This event has passed.
Masks and proof of vaccination will be required at Liberty Hall.
Click here for more information on the venue’s COVID policies.
Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads readers through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—including those that are honest about the past and those that are not—offering an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.
How the Word is Passed 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 400 people on the premises. 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.
In a deeply researched and moving 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 stories of people living today, Smith’s debut work of nonfiction 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 has come to be.
This event is presented in partnership with the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas.