Conference Speaker Biography

Clint Smith

Award-Winning Teacher | Acclaimed Spoken Word Poet


Clint Smith believes we all share a story, the human story. It’s in the telling, he believes, that we emerge as individuals and celebrate what we have in common. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America have been viewed more than four million times. Using his experience as an award-winning teacher and poet to share personal stories of justice, community, and education, his customizable art-form illuminates how we can all find the courage to create change, overcome challenges, and unite ourselves through the power of the collective voice.

Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship with research interests that include mass incarceration, the sociology of race, and the history of U.S. inequality. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.

He has spoken at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, the U.S. Department of Education, the IB Conference of the Americas, the Aspen Summit Ideas Festival. He has been profiled in The Washington Post, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Root, NBC News and the book, “American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom.” His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, collectively have been viewed more than 5 million times.

Clint is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State.

His writing has been published or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere. He is the author of Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He was born and raised in New Orleans.

Bio and photo from Speakers' Spotlight