Arts & Leisure

Book review: How the World is Passed — by Clint Smith

(Little Brown and Company)

Clint Smith, poet, educator and writer, is the perfect tour guide for this road trip to America’s most racially-charged settings, as he visits, in person, the monuments and landmarks of slavery that exist today. He illuminates the legacy of oppression at “a moment, at an inflection point, in which there is a willingness to more fully grapple with the legacy of slavery and how it shaped the world we live in today.” From Monticello Plantation to Angola Prison, from Juneteenth on Galveston Island to Blandford Cemetery and the Sons of Confederate Veterans; some sites are trying to tell the truth while others continue to miseducate. As Smith himself states, his experience as a high school teacher shaped his intentions for this book, and it is an education, thoughtfully and clearly presented, accessible and engaging and readable, gleaned from research as well as oral histories, “how the word is passed down.” Clear explanations of what slavery is emanate from guides at Monticello Plantation; a white person comes to understand the totality of the oppression that Black people have experienced; provided information goes beyond portraying the suffering of the enslaved and reveals how they contributed to building this country. A must-read.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


10 Books of Black History, Books of Black Culture

The Hill We Climb, by Amanda Gorman

On Juneteenth, by Annette Gordon-Reed

Maverick, by Jason L. Riley

Dead Are Arising, by Les & Tamara Payne

The Ground Breaking, by Scott Ellsworth

America on Fire, by Elizabeth Hinton

Four Hundred Souls, by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, by Saidiya Hartman

The Three Mothers, by Anna Malaika Tubbs

Memorial Drive, by Natasha Trethewey

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