BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘How The Word Is Passed’ by Clint Smith

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, the host of the 80+ episodes of Book Stew, a 30-minute video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, featuring authors, playwrights, voice artists, and journalists.

‘How The Word Is Passed’ by Clint Smith

Out of all the outstanding anti-racism books I’ve read recently, this one is uniquely peresonal, in that the writer brings the reader directly to sites where slavery stood out like a vicious tumor.

In each — Monticello, the Whitney Planation (where no one holds weddings and the emphasis is on the lives of the oppressed), Angola Prison in LA (formerly a plantations), the Blandford Cemetery (a mass burial ground for the enslaved, with no markers and no names), Galveston Island (Juneteenth), Wall St., NYC (slave market site — and enslaved people built THAT wall), and Goree Island, Senegal (with its breathtaking “open doorway” to the sea where Africans unwillingly departed for America) — the author listens to guides and finds out more truths about the lives lived in those places of horror.

Smith himself is a perfect guide — his turmoil and tenseness comes through each beautiful word — and this is an essential book for all to gain deeper understanding of the dark American stain that will not fade.

QUOTE: “Number one question we get from white visitors: ‘I know slavery was bad, but were there any good slave owners?'”

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