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Frank Smith Spanish transcript, 2022-09-26

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc049_02_tra_spa.pdf

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2022-09-26


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

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. 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.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


In this interview, Dr. Smith reflects on his arrival in Washington, D.C. in the late 1960s after working for several years as a voting rights organizer in Mississippi during the civil rights movement, as well as how he became a community leader and organizer in Adams Morgan in northwest D.C. He discusses his work as a housing organizer with Black tenants on Seaton Street in Adams Morgan, which led to a larger effort to challenge Perpetual Bank and its redlining policies in Adams Morgan and beyond through an agreement with the bank to end their racist lending practices. He further reflects on the importance of public space, including the plaza at 18th Street and Columbia Road, which he helped to create for the neighborhood through the Perpetual agreement in 1977, and the meaning of community in the face of gentrification and shifting demographics.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

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