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Ernest C. Smith Family Collection

Identifier: SPC-2019-019

Scope and Contents

The Ernest C. Smith Family Collection (1930-2011; undated) contains 17 boxes and 66.68 linear feet of material belonging to Ernest C. Smith and his family. The majority of the collection contains documents regarding Ernest's life as a sheet metal contractor; teacher; educator; politician; and African American civil rights activist. Series One contains personal papers such as correspondence; greeting cards; notes; diplomas; transcripts; wedding invitations; commencement programs; resumes; material related to church and religion; and other material belonging to Ernest C. Smith, Cheryl L. Smith Vincent, Lynetta Ann Smith McElroy, and Foraker Ulysses Smith. Series Two contains material related to Ernest’s professional career including documents related to his time as a sheet metal contractor; and newsletters, programs, ephemera, meeting notes, reports, and other material generated from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), National Education Association (NEA), and California Teachers Association (CTA) collected from when Ernest was a teacher. Also included in this series is material from Ernest’s time as member of the Los Angeles Branch’s Executive Committee with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) including meeting minutes; awards dinner and convention programs; and material related to H.R. 40, Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African American Act. Finally, Series Two contains materials from Ernest’s senate campaigns; documents from his time as a coordinator for Yvonne W. Brathwaite’s California State Assembly campaign; and other material related to politics. Series Three contains journal issues and articles; essays; fact sheets; and other material related to education, race, civil rights, and activism; and Series Four contains mostly photographs featuring the Smith family and their friends at various events and gatherings.


  • 1930-2011; undated


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Ernest "Ernie" C. Smith was born December 14, 1929 in Bastrop, Louisiana to Carl David Smith and Luvinia (Tinkschell) Johnson. The Smith family moved from Louisiana to Los Angeles circa 1944. Ernest attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he graduated in 1948, and went on to attend Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATT College), Los Angeles Southwest College (LASW College), UCLA, and Cal State Los Angeles where he received his Bachelor of Arts in industrial arts in 1975. In 1978 he received his Master’s Degree in School Management and Administration from Pepperdine University. After graduating from college, Ernest taught Industrial Arts and Social Studies at a few secondary schools in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for twenty-six years. He was also very active in his participation in education associations and held memberships in California Industrial Education Association, California Democratic Council, Epsilon Pi Tau, Alpha Psi Chapter Cal State LA, California Teachers Association, and United Teachers Los Angeles- where he was a part-time information assistant and served on the board of directors for 12 years.

Along with his career and commitment to teaching and education, Ernest was also involved with church, politics, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Ernest was chairman of the board of trustees at St. Mark United Methodist Church; founded the Zephyr Democratic Club; held memberships of the Committee for Reprehensive Government and California Democratic Council; worked as a coordinator for Yvonne Braithwaite Burke's election campaign to California State Assembly in 1966, later serving as Burke’s field deputy; volunteered for former President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign; and in 1978 Smith ran for the California State Senate seat in the 30th District. As a life member of the NAACP; Smith served on the Los Angeles Branch’s Executive Committee, had volunteer duties serving as chair of the Political Action Committee; was partially responsible for organizing a town hall meeting in April 2003 regarding HR40, a bill by Congressman John Conyers Jr. “A Commission to Study Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act”; was the assistant treasurer from 2003-2004; and won NAACP’s volunteer of the year in 2003.

Smith and his wife Mary Ann had five children: Cheryl L. Smith-Vincent; Lynetta Ann Smith McElroy; Tracie Wilson; Phillip Bowdoin; and Lesley Pierce.

Sources: “Annual Roy Wilkins Freedom Fund Awards Dinner, Continuing to Make Difference in the Community" [program]; “Resume, Ernest C. Smith" and other material located in the Ernest C. Smith Family Collection, SPC. 2019.019


18 boxes

67 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains material belonging to Ernest C. Smith and his family. The majority of the collection contains documents regarding Ernest's life as a sheet metal contractor; teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District; educator; politician; and African American civil rights activist. This collection includes: articles, reports, certificates, correspondence, event programs, photographs, ephemera, and other material. Also included in this collection are items that belonged to two of his Ernest's daughters- Cheryl L. Smith Vincent and Lynetta Ann Smith McElroy; as well as a dissertation and curriculum vitae belonging to Foraker Ulysses Smith.


This collection is arranged into four series:

  1. Series I: Personal Papers, 1948-2010; undated
  2. Sub-Series A: Ernest Smith Personal Papers, 1948-2010; undated
  3. Sub-Series B: Smith Family Personal Papers, 1974-1978
  4. Series II: Professional Materials, 1930-2011; undated
  5. Sub-Series A: Sheet Metal Contracting, 1950-1996; undated
  6. Sub-Series B: Teaching and Education, 1930-2009; undated
  7. Sub-Series C: Activism and Politics, 1960-2011; undated
  8. Series III: Subject Files, 1963-2010; undated
  9. Series IV: Photographs and A/V Material, circa 1930s-2000s; undated
  10. Sub-Series A: Photographs; circa 1930s-2000s
  11. Sub-Series B: A/V Material; undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Lynetta A.S. McElory, June 2019

Separated Materials

This collection contains books, pamphlets, and DVDs that are separated from the archival collection.

  1. "The Block" by Herb Goro. Random House, Inc., 1970
  2. "Surviving and Thriving 365 Facts in Black Economic History" by Julianne Malveaux. Last Word Productions, Inc., 2010
  3. "Emerging Artists: Figurative Abstraction", Second Biennial Exhibition. California Afro-American Museum, 1988
  4. "The Black West. A Documentary and Pictorial History" by William Loren Katz. 1971
  5. "The Negro in Modern American History Textbooks" 3rd edition. American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, October 1968
  6. "The Second People's Song Book, Lift Every Voice! With an Introduction by Paul Robeson. Edited by Irwin Silber. A People's Artists Publication, 1953
  7. "The ABC Picture Book of Eminent Negroes Past and Present" by Thomas M. Southern. The ABC Publishing Co. 1951
  8. "Freedom Destination Corps U.S.A., A Black Man's Last Plea" by Cleveland O. Harris. 1961
  9. "The Hero. A Short Biography of Patrice Emery Lumumba" by R.C. Kamanga. circa 1960s
  10. "Family Life and School Achievement, Why Poor Black Children Succeed or Fail" by Reginald M. Clark. University of Chicago Press, 1983
  11. "A Guide to Negro Marketing Information". U.S. Department of Commerce, September 1966
  12. "Assimilation and the Jewish People" by Paul Novick. October 1964
  13. "How to Love a Black Woman" by Muntu Mwaminifu (Thomas Meloncon) Truth Publication, 1980
  14. "And Don't Call Me a Racist! A Treasury of Quotes on the Past, Present, and Future of the Color Line in America". Selected and arranged by Ella Mazel. Argonaut Press, 1988
  15. "Code Name: The Long Sobbing. The Allies, The Axis, and the Victims: An Anthology from D-Day to V-E Day". Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1994
  16. "Debating Race with Michael Eric Dyson" Basic Civitas Books, 2007
  17. "The Movement, Documentary of a Struggle for Equality" Text by Lorraine Hansberry, Simon and Schuster, 1964
  18. "Understanding the Riots, Los Angeles Before and After the Rodney King Case" by the staff of the Los Angeles Times, 1992
  19. "19 Sixties, a Cultural Awakening Re-evaluated 1965-1975". Organized by the California Afro-American Museum. Essays by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, Curator; Cecil Fergerson, Contributor. 1989
  20. "Family Ties: Restoring Unity in the African American Family" by Colleen Birchett, Ph.D Urban Ministries Inc., 2006. "Workbook for "Family Ties: Restoring Unity in the African American Family" written by Rev. Cheryl P. Clemetson, Ph.d. Evangeline Carey. Edited by Kathryn Hall. 2006
  21. [DVD] "Protect Voting Rights: Renew the VRA" Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2005
  22. [DVD] "Matthew Kennedy: One Man's Journey" a film by Nina Kennedy; undated

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karen Clemons, February 2020

Inventory of the Ernest C. Smith Family Collection
Karen Clemons
February 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747