Diversity Speaker Series

This Diversity Speaker Series Event is sponsored by the Diversity Advisory Council, Graduate School, School of Dentistry, Francis King Carey School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, School of Social Work, and UMB Student Affairs.

Clint Smith, PhDClint Smith, PhD

History Reconsidered

Date: Oct. 22
Time: 4 P.M. to 5:15 P.M.


Clint Smith, PhD, is a writer, teacher, and Emerson Fellow at New America, a national think tank based in Washington, D.C. He previously received fellowships from the Art for Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation.

Smith is a former high school English teacher in Prince George’s County, Md., where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He currently teaches writing and literature in the D.C. Central Detention Facility.

Smith also is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from The American Poetry Review. He was named to the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list as well as Ebony magazine’s 2017 Power 100 list. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, have been viewed more than 8 million times combined.

His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published by Write Bloody Publishing in 2016. It won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, and was selected as the 2017 “One Book One New Orleans” book selection.

Smith’s debut nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed, explores how different sites across the country reckon with, or fail to reckon with, their relationship to the history of slavery. It is scheduled to be published by Little, Brown and Company in 2021.

Clint received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and his PhD from Harvard University. Born and raised in New Orleans, he currently lives in Maryland with his wife and their two children.

About the Virtual Event

History Reconsidered

The United States is a country of great opportunity, but we must wrestle with how certain opportunities are contingent on different facets of one’s identity. The United States has provided economic mobility for millions of people, but we must wrestle with the history of violence and exploitation that helped to generate its economic foundation. The United States has freed millions around the world from despots and genocide, and we must wrestle with this same country’s pervasive history of barbarous imperialism. These are all parts of what make this country what it is.

In this talk, combining poetry and history, Smith pushes the audience to wrestle with the complicated truths about the country we live in and helps crystallize how this history has shaped the contemporary social, political, and cultural landscape of our world today.


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