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Benjamin Lee Smith Papers


Collection Description:

The papers of Benjamin Lee Smith, North Carolina educator and Duke University alumnus, span the years 1916-1961, and contain correspondence, memoranda, clippings, and other printed material related to public education at both the local and state levels in North Carolina. There are also several dozen photographs of N.C. school buildings and personnel, circa 1930s-1950s. Other topics include prohibition and the elections of 1928, and religion and politics in North Carolina. A small but significant amount of material concerns school integration in Greensboro and associated civil rights issues in North Carolina. The collection also includes material on charitable organizations in which Smith was active, especially the Methodist Church, North Carolina Education Association (NCEA), Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, and the Horace Mann League.

Materials selected for this project document Smith’s tenure as the superintendent of Greensboro’s school system during the 1950s as the city struggled with school desegregation. Included are correspondence, reports, court documents, and speeches.

For more information on this collection, please consult the collection finding aid.

Repository: Duke University


Items from this collection included in the CRG digital archive

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Item thumbnail image Benjamin L. Smith
Date: 1940
By: unknown
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This photograph of Benjamin L. Smith is inscribed on the back "Startown Farm Life School, 196-1917." The school was located in Catawba County, North Carolina, and Smith was approximately twenty-three...
Item thumbnail image Benjamin L. Smith
Date: 1940
By: unknown
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This photograph of Benjamin L. Smith in uniform is inscribed "Camp Jackson, 1917-1918," and was taken while he served in the U.S. Army during World War I, from 1917 to 1919. While serving, he received...
Item thumbnail image 'Separate and Equal Public Education is in the Interest...'
Date: June 17, 1951
By: Edward Kidder Graham, Jr.
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers

This clipping from the June 17, 1951 issue of the Greensboro Daily News is a transcript of a speech given by Edward Kidder Graham Jr. on the issue of segregation in s...

Item thumbnail image Benjamin L. Smith
Date: 1953
By: unknown
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This photographic portrait of Benjamin L. Smith was taken around 1953, by an unindentified photographer. Smith was Greensboro's Superintendent of School at this time....
Item thumbnail image North Carolina Reaction to The Supreme Court Decision on Segregation
Date: 1954
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This three-page report written by Benjamin L. Smith, around 1954, regards the North Carolina reaction to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Smith writes that ther...
Item thumbnail image Re: Desegregation
Date: 1954
By: unknown
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This handwritten note or essay appears to have been written around 1954 regarding Greensboro Public School Superintendent Benjamin L. Smith's response to theBrown v. Board of ...
Item thumbnail image Speech by Benjamin L. Smith to the Kiwanis Club
Date: 1954
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This is a transcript of a speech given by Greensboro school superintendent, Benjamin L. Smith, to the Kiwanis Club of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, at the celebration of their thirtieth anniversary ...
Item thumbnail image Segregation and the Supreme Court
Date: 1954
By: unknown
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
In this speech, the unidentified author, possibly Benjamin L. Smith, discusses the pending Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The writer brie...
Item thumbnail image How Will The Supreme Court Decision Affect Greensboro and North Carolina?
Date: April 20, 1954
By: James Mattocks
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This is a handwritten copy of a speech titled “How Will the Supreme Court Decision Affect Greensboro and North Carolina” by High Point attorney, James Mattocks, given to the Greensboro Com...
Item thumbnail image Resolution with Respect to Decision of the United States Supreme Court Banning Segregation in the Public Schools
Date: May 18, 1954
By: Greensboro City Board of Education
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This resolution passed by the Greensboro City Board of Education on May 18, 1954 states that the board will “instruct the Superintendent [Benjamin L. Smith] to study and report to the Board rega...