Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery in America

Clint Smith

Hardcover edition
Hachette Book Group
Little, Brown and Company (Adu
Violence: Graphic Descriptions , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape , Violence: Torture , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur
$21.42   $17.85

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.Author’s note. “About This Project.” Notes. Index. 

Violence: Graphic Descriptions , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape , Violence: Torture , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur




Page Count


Trim Size

9 4/5" x 6 2/5"




0: points 0



Scholastic Reading Counts


JLG Release

Sep 2021

Book Genres

Narrative Nonfiction


US slavery. US slaveholders. History of African American social conditions. Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Plantations. Historic sites. Prisons. US Civil War (1861–1865). New Orleans, Louisiana. Monticello (Virginia). Galveston Island, Texas. New York City. Gorée Island, Senegal. Politics and government. Economics. Social science. African American and Black studies. Racism. Discrimination. Ethnology. Minorities. US history.

Standard MARC Records

Download Standard MARC Records

Cover Art

Download Cover Art

Grades 9 & Up
Nonfiction High Plus
For Grades 9 & Up

In today's classroom, Common Core is king and this level helps support the need for quality nonfiction for teen readers. These stimulating informational texts invite teen readers to question assumptions and engage in high-order thinking while providing examples of excellence in research and presentation. The 14 books in this category will attract browsers as well as report-writers. May include some books written for adults.

14 books per Year
$249.90 per Year
Diversity,Mature Readers,Nonfiction,Biographies,History
Like this book?
Get more like this every month.
Grades 9 & Up
Nonfiction High Plus
14 books per Year
$249.90 per Year

Other Recommended Titles From Nonfiction High Plus

Nonfiction High Plus

December 2021

Nonfiction High Plus

November 2021

Nonfiction High Plus

October 2021

Nonfiction High Plus

October 2021
Copyright © 2017 Magento, Inc. All rights reserved.