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Courageous Conversations Book Discussion

Courageous Conversations Book Discussion In-Person

Our Courageous Conversations Book Discussion brings together Westfield residents to build community across differences, increase awareness of our own blind spots, and help align our behavior with intentions.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith (2021)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION • WINNER OF THE STOWE PRIZE • WINNER OF THE 2022 HILLMAN PRIZE FOR BOOK JOURNALISM • A NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2021 • This “important and timely” (Drew Faust, Harvard Magazine) #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America—and how both history and memory continue to shape our everyday lives.

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.

Group size is limited. Register now!

2023 Schedule
•    February 9 at 7pm
•    May 11 at 7pm
•    August 10 at 7pm
•    November 9 at 7pm

Thursday, May 11, 2023
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Meeting Room
  Book Discussion  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

Allen McGinley

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