Clint Smith

Honorary Doctor of Education

Clint Smith is an interdisciplinary scholar and inspirational social justice educator, poet, author, and renowned speaker. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Davidson College and a Ph.D. in education from Harvard University.

Smith is a staff writer for The Atlantic and author of The No. 1 New York Times bestseller How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, as well as the poetry collections Counting Descent and Above Ground. He continues to serve as an educator through his columns in The Atlantic, books, poetry, and YouTube series on Black American history.

Smith is a sought-after speaker, giving talks at universities; organizations, such as the Southern Center for Human Rights, National Book Foundation, and Brennan Center for Justice; and scholarly events, such as the National Book Festival, MSRC International Black Writers Festival, and Aspen Ideas Festival.

A former high school teacher, Smith continues to educate the public about racial and other forms of injustice. Through powerful prose, Smith’s scholarly works humanize an oppressive world. He uses poetry, novels, articles, and YouTube to ensure that his messages are accessible to broad audiences. Smith provided an inspirational workshop to URI education students after the death of George Floyd on antiracist education in the summer of 2020.