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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

J. Millard "Jack" Smith

1895-1976

 
 
J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, August 4, 2015
1. J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker
Inscription.  Born at Statonville, Tennessee, J. Millard "Jack" Smith was president of Memphis State College from 1946 until 1960 and was the first alumnus of the college to become president. Following World War II, he guided the institution through an era of academic progress, culminating, in 1957, in the achievement of university status. He was Tennessee Commissioner of Education in 1938 and, again, in 1949-1950, and, and was president of Tennessee Polytechnic Institute from 1938-1940
 
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission. (Marker Number 4E 107.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1946.
 
Location. 35° 7.029′ N, 89° 56.266′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from Walker Avenue 0.2 miles from Patterson. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3744 Walker Ave, Memphis TN 38111, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tom (within shouting distance of this marker); Normal Depot
J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, August 4, 2015
2. J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker
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(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); This flagpole is dedicated to the men and women of the United States military services (about 500 feet away); Memphis State Eight (about 500 feet away); Normal Station Neighborhood (approx. ¼ mile away); The University of Memphis (approx. half a mile away); Second Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.8 miles away); William G. Leftwich, Jr. Memorial (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
 
Additional commentary.
1.
In 1957, civil rights activists Laurie Sugarmon and Maxine Smith decided to apply at Memphis State University. Both women were African American and the University had never admitted a black student. Sugarmon had graduated from Wellesley and Smith already had a Master's Degree. Both women were turned away from the admissions office and demanded to see the president, J. Millard Smith, the subject of this marker. "Not only were blacks, according to President Smith, never to be allowed in a white institution of higher education, which was the doorway to economic and social opportunity, but
J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, August 4, 2015
3. J. Millard "Jack" Smith Marker
they were also not to be hired in jobs other than those requiring menial labor." (Maxine Smith's Unwilling Pupils: Lessons Learned in Memphis's Civil Rights Classroom: An Authorized Biography of Maxine Atkins Smith. By Sherry Lee Hoppe, Bruce W. Speck)

"No blacks shall be admitted as long as I'm president."
J. Millard "Jack Smith" Smith

(Also in Hoppe and Speck).
    — Submitted August 4, 2015, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 4, 2015, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 4, 2015, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2021