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Benjamin Lee Smith

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Biographical/Historical note: Benjamin Lee Smith was born February 6, 1893 in, Caldwell County, N.C. He received his A.B. from Duke University in 1916, and his M.A. from Duke in 1937. He served as superintendent of schools in the western North Carolina cities of Forest City, Rutherford-Spindale, and Shelby before assuming the same position in Greensboro, N.C., in 1935. His twenty-three year tenure in Greensboro included the years immediately following the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision ordering desegregation of public schools. In 1959, he participated in the National Civil Rights hearing on school integration. Smith died in 1961. Ben L. Smith High School in Greensboro is named for him.

Items created by this individual or group:
Item thumbnail image Speech by Benjamin L. Smith to the Greensboro Men's Civic Club
Date: November 21, 1957
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This typescript copy of a speech given by Benjamin L. Smith to the Greensboro Men's Civic Club discusses Smith's efforts for school desegregation, and requests for support of a upcoming bond referendu...
Item thumbnail image Letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Harry McMullian
Date: August 23, 1954
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
In this two-page letter, dated August 23, 1954, Greensboro Superintendent of Schools Benjamin L. Smith recommends that North Carolina Attorney General Harry McMullian attend hearings regarding the
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 Biographical information on Benjamin L. Smith
Date: 1955
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This four-page document provides biographical information about Benjamin L. Smith, including a brief biographical sketch and lists of his organizations, accomplishments, and interests. Smith had serve...
Item thumbnail image Affidavit for reassignment of African American students to all-white schools
Date: August 28, 1957
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers

This six-page affidavit pertains to the reassignment of six African American students to all-white schools Gillespie Elementary School and Greensboro Senior High in 1957, documenting Greensboro's f...

Item thumbnail image Statement of Benjamin L. Smith before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission conference in Nashville
Date: 1959
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers

This transcript of a statement made by former Greensboro public school superintendent, Benjamin L. Smith, before the 1959 U.S. Civil Rights Commission conference in Nashville, Tennessee, describes ...

Item thumbnail image Letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Edward F. Burrows
Date: September 24, 1956
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This one-page letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Edward F. Burrows, dated September 24, 1956, thanks Burrows for his letter of support regarding his position on school desegregation....
Item thumbnail image Letter from Benjamin L. Smith to D. Edward Hudgins
Date: September 7, 1956
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This September 7, 1956 letter from Greensboro school superintendent, Benjamin L. Smith, to D. Edward Hudgins, thanks Hudgins for his letter of support. Smith writes that he shares Hudgins' fears that ...
Item thumbnail image Letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Warren Ashby
Date: September 24, 1956
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This September 24, 1956 letter from Greensboro school superintendent, Benjamin L. Smith, to Warren Ashby thanks Ashby for his letter of support regarding his position on school desegregation....
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 Statement by Benjamin L. Smith regarding Brown v. Board of Education
Date: 1955
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This one-page statement regarding the Brown v. Board of Education decision was drafted by Greensboro school superintendent Benjamin L. Smith around 1955. Smith says that...
Item thumbnail image Report of the Superintendent to the Greensboro City Board of Education regarding Brown v. Board of Education
Date: 1956
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This report regarding the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the state’s Pearsall Plan, was written by Greensboro school superintendent Benjamin L. Smith and submi...
Item thumbnail image Church and Desegregation
Date: March 13, 1955
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This speech titled “The Church and Desegregation” was delivered by Greensboro City Schools Superintendent Benjamin L. Smith to Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Ca...
Item thumbnail image Statement to Principals and Supervisors
Date: August 23, 1957
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This August 23, 1957 policy statement was prepared by Superintendent Benjamin L. Smith for distribution to principals and supervisors in the Greensboro City School System. Smith clarifies the role of ...
Item thumbnail image Story of Desegregation in Greensboro, NC
Date: March 5, 1959
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This transcript of a statement made by Greensboro school Superintendent Benjamin L. Smith to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 5, 1959, tells the history of school des...
Item thumbnail image Desegregation, Greensboro Public Schools, Greensboro, NC
Date: 1958
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This circa 1958 speech by Greensboro City Schools Superintendent Benjamin L. Smith details school desegregation in Greensboro, North Carolina. Smith writes about the initial changes the Greensboro sch...
Item thumbnail image Superintendent and Desegregation
Date: May 21, 1955
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This speech by Greensboro school superintendent, Benjamin L. Smith, was given to the American Association of University Women in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 21, 1955, and presents Smith’s position...
Item thumbnail image Letter from Mrs. E. C. Brooks to Benjamin L. Smith
Date: 1958
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
Handwritten , one page front and back, illegible....
Item thumbnail image Letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Mrs. E. C. Brooks
Date: January 13, 1958
By: Benjamin Lee Smith
From: Benjamin Lee Smith Papers
This January 13, 1958 letter from Benjamin L. Smith to Mrs. E. C. Brooks thanks Brooks for her letter of encouragement during the desegregation of two all-white schools in Greensboro in 1957. Smith wr...