Son of prominent civil rights leader to deliver MC’s MLK Day address

Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., son of the prominent Nashville-based civil rights leader Kelly Miller Smith, Sr., will address the Maryville College community during Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observances.

Smith will speak on Jan. 21 at 10:30 a.m. in the college’s Alumni Gymnasium. The MLK Day event, which also includes performances by the Voices of Praise gospel choir and readings by members of the Black Student Association, is free and open to the public.

Maryville College director of Diversity Programming Paula McGhee invited Smith to lead the 2008 MLK Day events. She said she was introduced to him through the minister who gave the college’s MLK Day sermon last year.

“Dr. Smith’s father was one of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee, and it’s evident that Kelly Miller Smith Sr. instilled in his children a sense of social justice and responsibility to community,” McGhee said. “This activist-son has done well, and I think he will help our campus community understand how to be effective 21st-Century activists within our institutions and to call for change from where we are.

“Dr. Smith is also very personable and charismatic and has a great sense of humor,” she added. “People who attend this MLK Day event will respond to him.”

A 1976 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in music and later earned a master of divinity degree from the Morehouse School of Religion of the Interdenominational Theological Center, also in Atlanta. His doctorate is from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Smith has more than 30 years of religious and business leadership experience. Pastor of Knoxville’s Mount Olive Baptist Church on Dandridge Avenue since 1991, he has helped guide the church through a period of tremendous spiritual, numerical and financial growth. His accomplishments also include the establishment of two church-related academies, one of which began last fall as a pre-school.

He currently serves as the executive director of the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and as vice-president at large for the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (TBM&E). He is also one of the contributing devotional writers to the African American Devotional Bible (Zondervan). In 2003, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.

Smith’s previous experiences include working as the director of continuing education at the American Baptist College in Nashville, where he was raised.

His father, Kelly Miller Smith, Sr., was the influential pastor of Nashville’s First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill, from 1951 until his death in 1984. He served as president of the Nashville NAACP from 1956 until 1959, founded and led the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference and helped found the Nashville Urban League. He was also assistant dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School from 1969 until 1984.

For more information on the MLK Day observances, contact Larry Ervin, director of multicultural affairs, at 865-981-8222 or larry.ervin@maryvillecollege.edu.

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