Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes

How the Word is Passed with Clint Smith

Episode Summary

What we call history isn't a fixed thing; it's a narrative, contested and fought over, changing over time. Right now, the United States is in the midst of a massive historical battle over its own narrative, specifically the legacy of slavery and race in America. The backlash to that fight is spilling into public policy as Republican state legislatures push to regulate the way students are taught about the founding of our country. In Clint Smith's new book "How The Word is Passed", Smith studies our understanding of slavery through the stories we tell of it. He travelled to the cemeteries and plantations and prisons home to these stories to see up close how they reckon with - or fail to reckon with - their own relationship to our country's legacy.

Episode Notes

What we call history isn't a fixed thing; it's a narrative, contested and fought over, changing over time. Right now, the United States is in the midst of a massive historical battle over its own narrative, specifically the legacy of slavery and race in America. The backlash to that fight is spilling into public policy as Republican state legislatures push to regulate the way students are taught about the founding of our country. In Clint Smith's new book "How The Word is Passed", Smith studies our understanding of slavery through the stories we tell of it. He travelled to the cemeteries and plantations and prisons home to these stories to see up close how they reckon with - or fail to reckon with - their own relationship to our country's legacy.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith