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Chair of Kentucky African American Heritage Commission to speak at Martin Luther King chapel Jan. 18

Jan. 4, 2017
For Immediate Release

By Joan C. McKinney, coordinating director

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Gerald Smith, pastor at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. and chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, will speak at Campbellsville University’s Martin Luther King Jr. chapel service Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. in Ransdell Chapel at 401 N. Hoskins Ave., Campbellsville.

Dr. Gerald Smith to speak at Campbellsville University's chapel Jan. 18.

Dr. Gerald Smith will speak at Campbellsville University Jan. 18. He is a former visitor to campus speaking at chapel. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)

Smith is an associate professor of African American history and the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Kentucky. From 1997 until 2005, he served as the director of the African American Studies and Research Program at UK.

In 2015, he received Campbellsville University’s Racial Reconciliation Award which is given to those who have shown outstanding characteristics of servant leadership in bringing people together past racial matters and across lines of ethnicity, and who have been significant bridge builders for the community.

“We look forward to hosting Dr. Smith for our January 18 Chapel Service celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther Jr.,” Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president of Campbellsville University for government, community and constituent relations, said.

Chowning said Smith is an “excellent speaker and preacher as well as a distinguished professor and educator.”

Chowning said, “As the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in Residence at the University of Kentucky and a contributing co-editor to the ‘Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’ Dr. Smith brings great knowledge and understanding of the commitment of Dr. King to nonviolent social change and servant leadership.”

Chowning invites the entire university community, including students as well as those in the area, to attend Campbellsville University’s first chapel service of the semester “as we remember Dr. King’s life and service and as we commit to learning to live and work together and to serve the greater good.

“Dr. Smith will bring a powerful and important message.”

Smith earned his bachelor of arts, master of arts and Ph.D. degrees in history from UK. He is a native of Lexington.

He taught at the University of Memphis from 1988 to 1993. From 1997 until 2005, he served as the director of the African American Studies and Research Program.

Smith is the author, editor or co-editor of three books. He is a contributing volume co-editor of the “Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume Six: Advocate of the Social Gospel.”

He has nearly 40 other publications in historical journals and encyclopedias.

Smith has consulted on various historical projects, lectured on colleges campuses around Kentucky and conducted workshops for primary and secondary school teachers.

He has also appeared in historical documentaries that have aired on CBS, NBC, KET and TruTV.

Smith is general co-editor of “The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia” published in 2015. He is researching and writing a new general history of African Americans in Kentucky.

Smith has served on a number of different boards and committees and is the recipient of numerous awards.

He and his wife, Teresa Turner Smith, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah.

Chapel is designed to provide opportunities for corporate worship and exposure through a variety of informative speakers and presentations.

All chapels are open to the public free of charge and are televised live on WLCU (Comcast Cable channel 10 and digital channel 23.0). For information about chapel, call the Office of Campus Ministries at (270) 789-5227.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 4,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 19 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset and Hodgenville with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is