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3+ verk 1,464 medlemmar 47 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta

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Taggad

Allmänna fakta

Födelsedag
1988
Kön
male
Nationalitet
USA

Medlemmar

Recensioner

I'm so glad I read this. I hope it's widely read and respected.
 
Flaggad
iszevthere | 39 andra recensioner | Feb 16, 2024 |
Thoughtful, beautifully written, powerfully felt—Clint Smith's How the Word is Passed is a meditation on how slavery, its history, and its legacy is reckoned with (or elided) at various sites in the U.S. and west Africa. Smith has a poet's ear for language and voice. Reading the chapter on his visit to the state penitentiary in Louisiana, and the horrific conditions endured by Black people in the American carceral system, was a nauseating experience in many respects (especially coming so soon after the latest reminder of how absolutely fucked up everything about the US 'justice system' is; Ireland's not perfect and Mountjoy's no picnic but at a minimum we don't go around thinking maybe we should, like, beat a shoplifter to death with a brick because it's what the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation would have wanted or something). Highly recommended though as usual I fear that the people who need to read this most will be the least likely to pick it up.… (mer)
½
 
Flaggad
siriaeve | 39 andra recensioner | Feb 15, 2024 |
A timely book, for the nation's perennial struggle to acknowledge (let alone reconcile) its own atrocities. Clint Smith views this through the lens of visiting places strongly tied to slavery: Monticello and Whitney plantations (with differing presentation options); Angola Prison in Louisiana (a direct link from plantation enslavement to modern day incarceration); Blandford Cemetery during a Confederate memorial event; Galveston, TX where Juneteenth was first celebrated; New York City for a walking tour through Seneca Village's destruction for Central Park and the African Burial Ground; and Gorée Island in Senegal.

The theme on my mind in light of contemporary rightwing rage against history education is how we're taught about a place, or that titular word is passed. I attended Clemson University, on John C. Calhoun's old plantation Fort Hill where the Old Main clocktower was renamed in 1946 after "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman by his son's lobbying, arguing that Tillman advocated for the creation of the university during his governorship. Much to my horror, I didn't learn about Tillman's lynching activities until after graduation, which breaks the illusion that removing Confederate statues and names would be "erasing history"- how do you erase something that isn't adequately taught?

There's a great line in the epilogue that goes, "At some point, it is no longer a question of whether we can learn this history, but whether we have the collective will to reckon with it." Several of the people Smith interviews are startled or surprised when confronted with the actual brutality of a place, as it is dissonant with the comforting nostalgia of the familiar narrative they know to be American history. I think of this when I see Gadsen stickers on cars or a social media cover cover photo with both American & Confederate flags captioned, "WE THE PEOPLE WILL DEFEND BOTH!" (willfully missing the entire purpose of why secession occurred). If I knew how to shake people into being more curious, to being unafraid of discomfort in order to seek the truth of our shared history. Slavery isn't just BLACK history, it's AMERICAN history and our economic and societal infrastructures exist because of it. It isn't a southern-only thing, as the New York chapter points out colonial enslavement in addition to the heterogenous views of abolitionists (with some wanting to move all Black Americans overseas... somewhere) and how southern cotton and sugarcane supplied the mills of industry up north.

The epilogue concludes with Smith interviewing his grandparents about their own experiences, and that is yet another thing not acknowledged at large in this country- that the repercussions of slavery and racist laws still reverberate in living people today. My grandparents ran a grocery store in a Black neighborhood, likely because white Georgians wouldn't have let Chinese people buy property in their spaces (for further reading in a similar community, see [b:Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers|5941567|Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers|John Jung|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1348389395l/5941567._SX50_.jpg|6114071]). Ruby Bridges, the girl who desegregated a Louisiana elementary school is only 67 as of the writing of this review, younger than my mother. The past is present and pretending that "it's over so why dwell on it" is a very near-sighted take.

The topic may be difficult for some readers but the book overall is very approachable, not a dry academic tome but part travelogue in some ways as he describes these visits to sites with context about their history or what interviewed folks say and think. Highly recommend.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
Daumari | 39 andra recensioner | Dec 28, 2023 |

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Statistik

Verk
3
Även av
7
Medlemmar
1,464
Popularitet
#17,551
Betyg
½ 4.5
Recensioner
47
ISBN
48
Språk
1
Favoritmärkt
1

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