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Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.

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Information about Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.

Profile image of Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Southern Food
Favorite Time of Year:
August
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
I Wish I Could Make It Plain.

Birthplace

Born:
5/19/1931
Birth Location:
Kansas City, Missouri

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Southern Food
Favorite Time of Year:
August
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
I Wish I Could Make It Plain.

Birthplace

Born:
5/19/1931
Birth Location:
Kansas City
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Biography

Reverend Dr. James Alfred Smith, Sr. was born on May 19, 1931 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother, Amy Gates Smith, was born outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi and migrated north to Kansas City, Missouri. Smith’s father, Clyde Anderson, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and worked in the Pullman sleeping car industry. Smith graduated from R.T. Coles High School in Kansas City in 1948 and obtained his license to preach in the same year.

Reverend Smith was called to the ministry in 1951. In 1952, he received his B.S. degree in elementary education from Western Baptist College. Reverend Smith also received his bachelor’s degree in divinity in 1959 from the Missouri School of Religion and his master’s degree in theology, church, and community in 1966. He also earned his master’s degree in American Church History from the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California in 1972. Reverend Smith earned his doctor of ministry degree from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary Simi Valley, California in 1975.

Reverend Smith was named senior pastor of Oakland, California’s Allen Temple Baptist Church in 1971. He was elected president of the Progressive Baptist State Convention of California in 1979, and president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in 1986. Smith joined the teaching faculty at the American Baptist Seminary of the West as professor of Christian Ministries in 1992. He is the author of several books including On The Jericho Road: A Memoir of Racial Justice, Social Action, and Prophetic Ministry, Speak Until Justice Wakes: Prophetic Reflections, and most recently Sounding The Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice. He retired from the Allen Temple Baptist Church in 2009 and is succeeded by his son, Rev. James Alfred Smith, Jr.

Reverend Smith has received several awards and honors for his work. The Oakland Tribune named Smith the Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1990. In 2001, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greenling Institute, a public policy organization in Berkeley, California. The East Bay Agency for Children awarded Smith the Humanitarian of the Year Award also in 2001. Smith presented the Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Conference on Church and Social Action most recently in 2015 in Columbia, Missouri

Joanna Goodwin Smith, Reverend Smith’s first wife, passed away in 2007. He remarried the Reverend Bernestine Smith, Pastor of Allen Temple Arms I and II.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.'s interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls his mother's professions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his childhood in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his brother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls growing up during the Great Depression
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls his early aspirations and personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his love of music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls R.T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.'s interview, session 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. remembers his call to ministry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls receiving funds to attend Western Baptist Bible College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. remembers how he met his first wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. remembers his ordination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the history of jazz in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his first pastoral position
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls influential religious leaders
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls earning his master's degrees in divinity and theology
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his experience of racial discrimination in seminary
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s influence on his theology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls Samuel DeWitt Proctor and Vernon Johns
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his move to Oakland, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls becoming pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his work with Cesar Chavez
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the history of Allen Temple Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. remembers Charles Bailey and Leon Sullivan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the American Baptist Seminary of the West
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the Progressive National Baptist Convention, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the Progressive National Baptist Convention, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. recalls his presidency of the Progressive National Baptist Convention
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his involvement in the Free South Africa Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes the Leadership Institute of Allen Temple
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. reflects upon politics and religion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. reflects upon religious ethics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his retirement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. shares advice about how to be an effective pastor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. reflects upon the rise of mega churches
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered