The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

David A. Smith

Real estate entrepreneur David A. Smith was born on August 29, 1915 in Clinton, Louisiana. Smith has the distinction of being one of the first African American real estate brokers in Denver, Colorado. His paternal grandfather, Walter Smith, was a contractor and built most of the homes, churches and schools in Clinton, Louisiana. As a child, Smith moved with his mother to New Orleans, Louisiana where he attended a private school, Gilbert Academy, before moving to Denver, Colorado and graduating in 1933 from Manual High School. Continuing his education, Smith attended Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas until 1935 before receiving his B.A. degree in economics from West Virginia State College in 1938. Completing his studies at the University of Denver in 1940, Smith received his M.A. degree in economics.

Smith began his professional career as an office assistant to Governor Neely of West Virginia. In the 1940s, he enlisted into the segregated United States Army. Here, he served as an officer in the 477th Bomber Group in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was one of the officers who fought against the discrimination that existed at Freeman Field and was arrested. After an honorable discharge, Smith returned to Denver and started several small entrepreneurial businesses including a liquor store and a real estate agency. He became one of the first African American real estate appraisers and brokers for the city of Denver. During his time, he became one of the most successful African American real estate brokers in Denver.

Smith retired in the late 1990s, and his daughter has continued to maintain his real estate practice. Smith has received several awards for being an outstanding businessman and is a member of several organizations including the Urban League and the NAACP. Smith passed away on January 24, 2010.

Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.079

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/19/2006

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Schools

Manual High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

West Virginia State University

University of Denver

Gilbert Academy

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Clinton

HM ID

SMI13

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Phoenix, Arizona

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

8/29/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Death Date

1/24/2010

Short Description

Real estate entrepreneur David A. Smith (1915 - 2010 ) was one of the first successful African American real estate brokers in Denver, Colorado.

Employment

Dave Smith Realty

Federal Housing Administration

Veteran's Administration

Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

Union Pacific

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David A. Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David A. Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David A. Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David A. Smith describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David A. Smith recalls visiting his maternal grandparents in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David A. Smith describes his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David A. Smith describes his mother's decision to move to Denver, Colorado

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David A. Smith describes his neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David A. Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David A. Smith describes his experiences of segregation in New Orleans

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David A. Smith remembers his role models as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David A. Smith describes his mother's professions

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David A. Smith recalls his early impressions of Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David A. Smith describes his experiences of racial discrimination in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David A. Smith describes his homes in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David A. Smith recalls his decision to attend Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David A. Smith remembers his college roommate, Adolphus Smith

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David A. Smith describes his mother's aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David A. Smith describes his undergraduate education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David A. Smith describes his experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David A. Smith describes his move to West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David A. Smith recalls his work in the office of Governor Matthew M. Neely

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David A. Smith describes his positions in West Virginia and Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David A. Smith recalls his enlistment to the U.S. Army Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David A. Smith describes the U.S. Army bases where he was stationed

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David A. Smith describes the Freeman Field mutiny, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David A. Smith describes the Freeman Field mutiny, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David A. Smith describes the Freeman Field mutiny, pt. 3

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David A. Smith recalls obtaining a liquor license and opening a store

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David A. Smith remembers becoming a real estate appraiser

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David A. Smith recalls founding his real estate business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David A. Smith describes the practice of restrictive covenants

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David A. Smith remembers civil rights leaders and events

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David A. Smith recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David A. Smith reflects upon his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David A. Smith describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - David A. Smith describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - David A. Smith reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David A. Smith narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David A. Smith narrates his photographs, pt. 2