Charles Ullman Smith

Tallahassee, FL I 1923 - 2015

Cited as one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, desegregation and race relations in Florida and the U.S. Spent nearly 50 years as a professor at Florida A&M University, serving as emeritus Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Graduate Dean (among other positions). While at Florida A&M University, originated the popular FAMU picnic, founded the FAMU Employees Club and created a FAMU Way roadway. Became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. at Washington State University. During the 1960s, ignored directive of FAMU president and supported FAMU student-led boycotts of Tallahassee lunch counters and movie theaters. Was the first black elected chair of the Leon County Democratic Party. Waged a decades-long crusade against Tallahassee’s Capital City Country Club after the once-public course turned private in 1956 and attempt to prohibit blacks to play golf. Served as lifelong member of the NAACP. Authored many articles and books focused on civil rights in Florida and nationwide, including co-author of the book Student Unrest on Historically Black Campuses and the Civil Rights Movement in Florida and the Unites States. Served as Research Coordinator for a Study of the Education of Blacks in Florida (grant funded). Established the Charles U. Smith Seminars designed to give students and faculty/ staff and community an opportunity to interact with nationally and internationally renowned scholars, scientist and civic leaders. While in retirement, served as adviser for and participated in the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott sponsored by the Inter-Civic Council of the SCLC; 60th Anniversary was named in his honor.
Honors: Who’s Who in American Politics, Who’s Who Among Black Americans and American Men of Science, Florida delegate to four White House conferences, Millennium Award, Florida A&M University Martin Luther King Leadership Award, Roll of Honor Sociologist by the Southern Sociological Society for leadership during the Civil Rights Movement, W.E.B Dubois-Johnson-Frazier Award for Meritorious Achievement by the association of Social and behavioral Scientists, and “Alumnus of the Century” at Florida A&M University.