Writer Clint Smith takes a 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 America’s collective history.
How cities and places deal with the legacy of slavery is a huge issue worldwide. In his new book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Smith explores such palces as the Monticello Plantation in Virginia – Thomas Jefferson’s estate where wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than 400 people; the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it; Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay; and Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.
In conversation with Tim Cole (historian, writer and chair of the Bristol History Commission), Smith offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of the United States and how it has come to be and what the lessons might offer for other places. This event is presented in partnership with The Festival of Ideas in Bristol, England, an inspiring programme of discussion and debate aimed to stimulate minds and passions. The fourth Festival of the Future City takes place October 20–21, 2021.
To register for this event, please visit BristolIdeas.co.uk/attend/clint-smith.