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SMITH, BLAKE

SMITH, BLAKE (1902–1973). Blake Smith, Baptist minister, was born on January 19, 1902, in Jasper, Arkansas, the son of Other Otis and Mamie Nell (Boomer) Smith. He began studying law but was drawn to the ministry instead; he was ordained in 1923 at Conway, Arkansas. Smith received an A.B. degree from Ouachita College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and a B.D. degree from Yale University in 1929. He married Dora Alberta Riley on December 15, 1925, and they became the parents of five children. Smith served as pastor of several churches while he was in school, including congregations at Crossett, Arkansas, and Bridgeport and Rockville, Connecticut. He was pastor in Mexico, Missouri, from 1929 to 1936. From 1930 to 1932 he was president of Hardin College for Women in Mexico, Missouri; at that time he was the youngest college president in the United States. Smith moved to a church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1936 and to Conway, Arkansas, in 1940. In 1943 he became pastor of the University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, where he remained for twenty-six years. He helped organize the Texas Interracial Commission in the 1940s, and under his guidance in 1946 the University Baptist Church became the first church in the Southern Baptist Convention to integrate. Smith had a daily radio program called "Religion in Life," which aired on several Texas stations from 1944 to 1958. He traveled to the Far East and to Central America on several mission trips and in 1956 served as the United States Protestant representative to the NATO Nations Spiritual Life Conference in Holland. He retired from the University Baptist Church in 1969 and died in Ithaca, New York, on June 23, 1973, while visiting one of his sons. He was buried at Austin Memorial Park.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, June 24, 1973. Vertical Files, Austin History Center. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who Was Who in America, 1950–51.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, "SMITH, BLAKE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsm72), accessed September 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.