Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Smith, Kelly Miller (1920–1984)

Born in Mississippi, Smith attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he joined the campus chapter of the NAACP, beginning a long career of nonviolent civil rights advocacy. After receiving his divinity degree from Howard University, he moved to Nashville in 1951. There, he founded a group called the Nashville Christian Leadership Council in 1958, which helped organize lunch-counter student sit-ins. He pastored the First Baptist Church in Nashville, and eventually became president of the NAACP. He also served as assistant dean of Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School.