Clint Smith’s “How the Word is Passed” selected as UW-Madison’s 2022-23 Go Big Read book


    University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank has selected Clint Smith’s “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” as the 2022-2023 Go Big Read book.

    “How the Word Is Passed,” which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view and how much we can gain from listening to them.

    The Go Big Read program is UW–Madison’s common reading program that engages members of the campus community and beyond in a shared, academically focused reading experience.

    Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He also teaches writing and literature in the D.C. Central Detention Facility and is also the host of the YouTube series ”Crash Course Black American History,” according to an article from UW News, and he previously taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

    “It was as a teacher that I first began to fully account for the way the history of this country shaped the landscape of my students’ communities, from slavery to Jim Crow apartheid to mass criminalization and beyond,” Smith writes. “I have come to realize that those conversations with my students, now a decade ago, about how we might begin to understand our lives in relation to the world around us were some of the earliest sparks of this book. I tried to write the sort of book that I would have wanted to teach them. I hope I made them proud.”

    Previous Go Big Read books include “Parkland” by Dave Cullen, “The Poison Squad” by Deborah Blum,  “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai and “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki.