Hartwick Students Find Fall Common Read Events Powerful and Empowering
This academic year, Hartwick College purchased hundreds of copies of Clint Smith’s book How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. The books were then distributed to over 500 Hartwick students in 22 courses, ranging from criminal justice to economics, and from anthropology to creative writing–including four Flightpath First-Year seminars. Students then had the opportunity to hear from Smith in person at SUNY Oneonta on Monday, October 23.
“To say I was impressed is an understatement,” reflected Amelia Williams ’26, a psychology major. “I learned things about American history that I previously did not know, like New York’s role in the institutionalization of slavery.”
Tre Garcia ’27, a computer science major, was also moved by the discussion and topic. “Something he talked about that made me kind of emotional was how he explained that slavery really wasn’t that long ago,” said Garcia.”His explanation of his grandparents’ grandparents being slaves gave a scary perspective of it.”
For many students, the common read posed an important question: what to do with the knowledge they had gained.
“Smith’s talk was insightful as he expressed several things that truly resonated with me,” said Tatyana McGuire ’25, a double major in political science and criminal justice.
“Smith is trying to prove to people that history is far more complex than what we were taught, and now that we have this knowledge, what will we do to educate the rest of the world?”
Tatyana McGuire '25,
Double Major in Political Science and Criminal Justice