The son, 88, of a slave born on the Virginia plantation takes inspiration from the BLM
Daniel Smith, now 88, is just a generation out of slavery. His father, Abram Smith, was born on a plantation in Massies Mill, Virginia, in 1862 during the Civil War
88-year-old son of slave born on a plantation in Virginia 157 years ago says he is inspired by the current Black Lives Matter movement but sometimes time feels like it rolls back into the years of slavery given the current events under President Donald Trump.
Daniel Smith, although it seems unlikely, is only a generation out of slavery.
His father, Abram Smith, was born on a plantation in Massies Mill, Virginia in 1862 during the Civil War.
After leaving the plantation, Abram married Clara Wheeler, who was decades younger than him, and they settled in Connecticut in the 1920s to raise a family.
They had six children together, and Smith, who was their fifth child, was born in 1932. Abram was 70 when Smith was born.
Smith and his 92-year-old brother Abe are the only two surviving siblings, the Washington post reports.
They are part of an extremely rare population of surviving relatives who only came out of slavery once.
Like his father, Smith lived through decades of America’s racial history.
He was hunted down by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, marched with Martin Luther King and attended Barack Obama’s two investitures. Smith lived through the civil rights movement and now watches the Black Lives Matter movement unfold.
He told the Post that while he had always viewed the 150 years since his father’s birth and ensuing slavery as a “solid void” in history, it now seemed much shorter. held current events during Trump’s presidency.
Like his father, Smith lived through decades of America’s racial history. He said he was inspired by the current Black Lives Matter movement that is currently sweeping the country. Smith is pictured above with his second wife Loretta Neumann
He hinted that he felt the years were going back to the days of slavery – “almost to the point where it could happen again”.
Smith suggested the sentiment had faded somewhat lately after seeing protesters take to the streets across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The man, now 88, said he feels inspired by the current push for racial justice.
He said he never gave much thought to being one of the few living children of a slave.
“Frankly, I just grew up and been busy and never gave it much thought,” he said.
Smith said that when he was little he remembered listening to his father tell stories about the plantation and how slaves were beaten and brutalized.
Her parents taught her and her siblings that America was a free country and that they could be whoever they wanted to be.
“I remember my father and my mother saying, ‘This is a free country. You can do whatever you want, you can be whatever you want, “and they believed it,” Smith said.
“A lot of black kids grew up in a world where they didn’t know who they were or where they came from… but we were the children of AB Smith, and that supported us through it all.”
Smith suggested the sentiment had faded somewhat lately after seeing protesters take to the streets across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In the photo above, a “Black Lives Matter” mural painted on the sidewalk of 16th Street near the White House
He said that while he had always viewed the 150 years since his father’s birth and the ensuing slavery as a “solid void” in history, it now seemed much shorter. held current events during Trump’s presidency.
He said it wasn’t until adulthood that he realized his parents were optimistic and that they had been sold the idea that the United States was the land of the free.
“We’ve all been brainwashed… Everyone in America has fallen for the trap,” Smith said.
Smith served in the US Army as a medic during the Korean War before briefly working as a social worker, then in civil rights in the 1960s leading an anti-poverty program in Alabama.
He then became a federal health executive in Washington DC.
Smith said he now realizes his parents believed black people had to work twice as hard as white men and women in order to prove their equality.
His calculation, however, came in 1957 while working as a director of a YMCA camp in Connecticut.
He saw that a young woman was drowning in the quarry and rushed to help him. After being brought back to the ground, Smith said he could feel her pulse and was about to give mouth to mouth when a police officer started yelling at him.
Smith said the officer yelled, “Hey, you, you, YOU. She’s already dead. She’s already dead.
“He didn’t want me to put my lips on her, and she died.”
Smith has lived in the Washington DC area since 1968, just weeks before Martin Luther King was assassinated.
He has been retired since 1994 and lives with his second wife Loretta Neumann, who is white. The couple married in 2006 at the National Cathedral. Smith has two children with his first black wife.