In Memoriam: Charles Ullman Smith, 1926-2015

smithC.U. Smith, a civil rights leader and a long-time faculty member at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, died of respiratory failure on April 20 at the Big Bend Hospice Center. He was 89 years old.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Smith was a graduate of Tuskegee University. He earned a master’s degree at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1946 and was hired to the faculty at Florida A&M University that same year. In 1948, Smith left Florida A&M to complete a Ph.D. in sociology at Washington State University. He was only the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at the university.

Dr. Smith returned to Tallahassee in 1950 and remained on the faculty at Florida A&M until his retirement in 1997. During his nearly half century at Florida A&M, Dr. Smith served as chair of the department of sociology and dean of graduate studies.

Dr. Smith was also active in the civil rights movement including the Tallahassee Bus Boycott of 1956 and the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960.

In 2013 he published the book Letters and Commentaries of Charles U. Smith, Ph.D that documents his life’s work.


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