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Frank Smith

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Information about Frank Smith

Profile image of Frank Smith

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Cultural Heritage Chief Executive
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
France
Favorite Quote:
God's been good to me.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1942
Birth Location:
Newnan, Georgia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Cultural Heritage Chief Executive
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
France
Favorite Quote:
God's been good to me.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1942
Birth Location:
Newnan
See how Frank Smith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Commentator, civil rights activist, politician, and speaker Frank Smith, Jr. was born on September 17, 1942, in Newnan, Georgia. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a farmer and truck driver. In 1959, Smith earned his high school diploma from Central High School, where he was a member of the New Farmers of America as well as the debate team, choir and drama club.

From 1959 until 1962, Smith attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Smith left Morehouse during his senior year to play a role in the Civil Rights Movement. From 1962 until 1968, Smith worked with SNCC organizing and registering African Americans voters in Mississippi and Alabama. He is noted for his involvement and leadership role in planning and executing protests and marches in Greenwood, Mississippi, during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

In 1968, Smith moved to Washington, D.C., when he accepted a job as a researcher for the Institute for Policy Studies, focusing on education and planning issues. Smith became involved in local community issues and was elected to serve as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC). In 1978, Smith unsuccessfully ran for the District of Columbia City Council, but the following year he was elected to public office and served one term on the D.C. Board of Education. In 1980, Smith earned his Ph.D. degree from the Union Institute in Ohio.

In 1982, Smith was elected to the District of Columbia City Council where he represented one of the most racially, ethnically and economically diverse wards in the city. Smith was subsequently elected to serve four terms on the Council, remaining there until 1998. During his tenure on the Council, Smith supported legislation creating subsidies for housing down payments, a lottery system for disposing of condemned and surplus housing and establishing tax incentives for new business development.

In 1998, Smith became chairman of the board and chief executive officer for the organization which worked to establish the African American Civil War Memorial and an accompanying museum. It is the only national memorial to the colored troops who fought in the Civil War and one of the most unique memorials in Washington, D.C.

Smith has received numerous awards for his civic, community and political leadership.

See how Frank Smith is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Smith interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Smith's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Smith describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Smith describes his father and recalls family and community traditions in Coweta county, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Smith remembers his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Smith describes attempts to trace his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frank Smith shares his earliest memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frank Smith lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frank Smith recalls Christmas, churchgoing and self help traditions of their rural community in Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frank Smith discusses the plantation where he grew up and his father's stress on education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frank Smith recalls his early involvement in the church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Frank Smith describes his childhood environs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Frank Smith recounts his early school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Smith recalls the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Smith recalls having few outside news sources and describes his interest in baseball and reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Smith recalls his talents and personality as a child and youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Smith describes his early sense of responsibility
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Smith talks about Georgians migrating to Chicago to work
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Smith recalls his high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Smith remembers the influence of his parents and two high school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Smith describes the road to college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Smith describes his education at Morehouse and his involvement in SNCC
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Smith recounts the dangers faced by SNCC activists in Greenwood, Mississippi, 1962-1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Smith recalls his time in Washington, D.C. during the 1960s and 70s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Smith tells how his parents were threatened with eviction because of his civil rights activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Smith discusses his work on the Washington, D.C. school board and city council
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Smith explains his interest in the black soldiers in the U.S. Civil War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Smith evaluates public affairs in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s to 1990s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Smith evaluates Marion Barry's arrest and comeback
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Smith discusses the role of African Americans in the U.S. Civil War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Smith discusses the African American Civil War Memorial
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frank Smith discusses his family life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frank Smith reflects on his life's course