Gerald L. Smith

glsmit01's picture
  • Professor
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • History
1773 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Ph.D., Kentucky, 1988

Office Hours

Spring 2017: T 1:30 - 3:00, W 1:30 - 3:00


Gerald L. Smith is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. He earned his B.A, M.A., and Ph. D degrees from the University of Kentucky in history. He taught at the University of Memphis from 1988-1993. He is a full professor of history and  a former holder of both  the Theodore A. Hallam Professorship and  the  Martin Luther King Center Scholar-in Residence  at the University of Kentucky. From 1997-2005, he served as the director of the African American Studies and Research Program at UK. He  is  the former pastor of the Farristown Baptist Church in Berea, Kentucky and now serves as  pastor  of  the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Smith is the author, editor, or co-editor of four books. He has more than  forty articles, essays, and book reviews published in historical journals and encyclopedias. He has served as a keynote speaker for  numerous programs, consulted on various historical projects, lectured on college campuses around the state, and conducted workshops for primary and secondary school teachers. He has  appeared in historical documentaries which have aired on CBS, NBC, KET, the CBS Sports Network, and TruTV.  Dr. Smith is co-editor of the award winning Kentucky African American Encyclopedia which was recognized with  the Kentucky Archives Month Certificate for Merit for Writing/Publication and the Thomas D. Clark Medallion Book in  2015 and  the Kentucky Historical Society Publication Award for 2016. Professor Smith is currently researching and writing a new general history on Kentucky African Americans.

Over the years, he has served on a number of different boards and committees and is the former chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission. He currently serves on the board of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. His awards include: selection as a National Faculty Scholar (1997); Who’s Who Among African Americans (2000);  induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars of Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia ( March 2000), and  the Evelyn Black Award from the UK Black Student Union (2005, 2017). He is a 2006  inductee into the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame in Lexington, Kentucky;  recipient of the 2011 Richard H. Collins Award from the Kentucky Historical Society, and, one of six professors on campus chosen by the UK Alumni Association to receive the 2013 Great Teacher Award. In 2014 the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Personnel Cabinet presented him with the annual Charles W. Anderson Laureate (Medal) Award, its highest award given to individuals recognized for significant contributions to equal opportunity in their communities. He received the Racial Reconcilation Award  (2015) and The Kente Cloth Award (2017) from Campbellsville University. He was named a recipient of the 2016 Living Legacy Award during the 13th annual Black History Month Celebration  at the  Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort. He was recognized as the Outstanding Professor by Fraternity and Sorority Greek Life at UK in 2017. He was awarded the 2018 University of Kentucky Inclusive Excellence Award and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Service and Engagement Award.

 He is married to the former Teresa Turner. They are the parents of two daughters.


Current Research: A monograph on Kentucky African American History from the frontier years to the present.

Courses Taught: 

Senior Seminar for History Majors

The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.;

The History of Sports in America

Race and Sports in America 

The Civil Rights Movement in the US Since 1930

African American Urban History,

Race Relations

Readings in African American History

Kentucky African American Experience


Current Students

  • LeDatta Grimes
  • David Lai
Selected Publications: 

Selected Articles:


Enter your linkblue username.
Enter your linkblue password.
Secure Login

This login is SSL protected