Alonzo Smith

Academic Historian

Alonzo Smith is currently a professor of history at Montgomery College, in Rockville, Maryland. After graduating from Georgetown University in 1962, he served for three years as a schoolteacher in the Republic of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and then as an employee of the Ivory Coast Ministry of National Education. He later earned the M.A. degree in African History from Howard University, and the Ph.D. degree in African American History from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He has taught at Los Angeles City College, the Black Studies Center of the Claremont Colleges, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Hampton University. From 1991 to 1992 he was program director and country manager for the nonprofit governmental organization, Africare, in Sierra Leone. His publications include An Illustrated History of African Americans in Nebraska, co-authored with Bertha Calloway. From 1994 to 2005 he was a research historian and associate curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where he served as one of two co-curators for the exhibition, “Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education.” His research and teaching interests include; contemporary African Studies, twentieth century African American history, and peace and social justice issues.

Matthew Oliver Ricketts (1853-1917)

Dr. Matthew Oliver Ricketts was the generally acknowledged political leader of Omaha’s African Americans at the turn of the 20th century.  Ricketts was born to an enslaved couple near New Castle, Kentucky in 1858.  He later received a degree from Lincoln Institute at Jefferson City, … Read MoreMatthew Oliver Ricketts (1853-1917)

John Alexander Somerville (1882-1973)

John Alexander Somerville emigrated to the United States from Jamaica around 1900.  He and his wife, Vada Watson Somerville, were both graduates of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.  Graduating with honors in 1907, he was the first black graduate, and his wife … Read MoreJohn Alexander Somerville (1882-1973)