A free public lecture by a civil rights activist who served as deputy executive director of the NAACP highlights African-American Heritage Month activities planned by the College of Communications.
The Rev. Charles Smith will be present the lecture at as part of activities that begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in 117 Waring Commons on the University Park campus of Penn State. Along with Smith’s lecture, the event includes performances by Ambitions Dance Company and United Soul Ensemble as well as a poetry reading.
In addition to his duties at the NAACP and as a NAACP board member, Smith was co-founder of Action Inc. and an aide to U.S. Sen. John Glenn during his career.
A native of Lexington, Ky., Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in languages, with honors, from Virginia Union University. He earned a master’s of divinity with academic honors from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Religion. He also holds post-graduate certifications in epidemiology in public health from the University of Pennsylvania and an executive management certificate from Harvard University.
Smith began his career in ministry as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntington, W.Va., in 1960. As he worked to end segregation in the community, he engaged partners and initiated programs that touched on economic development, education, employment and housing. He also served as director of the West Virginia Jobs Program, a statewide advocacy program working to provide jobs and eliminate class and racial barriers to employment.
The event is sponsored by the African, Hispanic and Native American Student Association (AHANA) and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Damon’s Grill will provide catering at the conclusion of the event.