Eric A. Smith

Independent Historian

Eric A. Smith is a lecturer, teacher, author, historian, and television talk show host.  He received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and Masters of Arts Degree in History from Chicago State University. Eric is also a member of Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society and has served as Past President of the Afro-American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago.

Eric has published articles in the Afro-American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago Newsletter and the Iowa Genealogical Journal, Hawkeye Heritage. His book Oak Hill: A Portrait of Black Life in Cedar Rapids, 1920-1950, (Los Angeles: Amen-Ra Theological Seminary Press, 2006), appeared in September, 2006.  Eric's work has also appeared on websites such as Jefferson's Blood and been utilized by the PBS series, Frontline. Eric has given educational presentations on history and genealogy in numerous venues including in the Chicago Public Schools, The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the University of Illinois, Chicago; Chicago State University and the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc., National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2006.

Oak Hill, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1920-1950)

Image Ownership: Public Domain The Oak Hill neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had in the first decade of the 20th Century been the residence of well-to-do white families.  Over the next two decades it was transformed from the addresses of the affluent into a working … Read MoreOak Hill, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1920-1950)

Buxton, Iowa (1895-1927)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Most coal mining communities are transitory due to the demands of the mining industry. However, that was not the case with Buxton, Iowa, a coal mining colony with a large black population that grew in southern Iowa at the beginning of … Read MoreBuxton, Iowa (1895-1927)

Melvin Jay “Mel” Reynolds (1952- )

Politician, scholar and professor, Mel Reynolds was born on January 8, 1952, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, to parents J.J. and Essie May Reynolds.  Reynolds attended John Marshall High School on the Westside of Chicago where he developed impressive academic credentials.  He then enrolled in Chicago … Read MoreMelvin Jay “Mel” Reynolds (1952- )

George S. Jeffrey (1830-1906)

Although he never held public office, George S. Jeffrey barber, orator, and post-reconstruction civil rights leader, emerged as one of the most important African American political figures in late 19th Century Connecticut.  Jeffrey was born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1830, to free parents George W. … Read MoreGeorge S. Jeffrey (1830-1906)