The story of the Smith’s and the Andersons emerges from the dark days of yesteryear proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that with God’s blessings, a people born in adversity, nurtured in poverty, can emerge from darkness with bleeding but unbowed heads. Together, we join hands with the other black children of God and move forward in search for rightful places in society.
During the cruel and agonizing days of slavery, tongue can never tell and pen can never describe the human suffering that the black children of God endured. The institution of slavery had no respect for black family ties and frequently families were torn apart and sold like cattle to other slave traders, never to be reunited-or even to see each other again. This inhuman condition existed until the great Creator touched the heads of the members of Congress and in search for a solution to the problems of slavery; they entered into a war between the North and South. Thus by the grace of God, this blot on human society was wiped out in a baptism of blood. We all know the results, the north was victorious, the black children of God were emancipated and the black boys and girls of America got a glimpse of a light at the far end of the tunnel of life. A light so dim that it could only be seen by those with a steadfast desire to forge ahead; so dim that only those who possessed the faith of their fathers could see. Yet it was bright enough for black generations yet unborn to find their way and seek their rightful place in the sun.
Richard Darden Smith was born on January 19, 1849. He was the son of Rachel Smith. There is no recollection of her husband and as with the others the name Smith was taken from the past plantation owner whom she served. Richard was born during those dark days when the North and South struggled for mastery of the slave question. Having been born in the Mississippi Delta, he was acquainted with the racial hostilities and inequities that surrounded and permeated our society. He was a very religious man; he was farsighted and even though surrounded by the darkness created by man’s inhumanity to man, he could see the light far ahead at the end of the tunnel. He was aware of the atrocities inflicted upon the black population of the South. No doubt he entertained dreams of someday, not only showing that light to the coming generation, but to take them by the hand and lead them toward a brighter day. Although he could see many obstacles and pitfalls along the way, he was undaunted in his determination.
Richard realized that the backbone of a thriving society is the family. This invaluable asset to success had been abused and on many instances, completely destroyed for his enslaved fore parents. He knew that if a cursed, downtrodden people would survive and succeed, those family ties must be rebuilt and the family fires rekindled. Without the strength of the family unit, man would fall short of the truest meaning of God’s command to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. Without the benefit of the family, man would not qualify for the blessings that God awarded to Adam and Eve and to future generations. Richard felt keenly the need for companionship and for a helpmate to aid him in reaching his goals and to reach the end of the tunnel that stood between him and the light at the other end. He needed a patient, understanding friend who would share with him the responsibilities that he had made a definite part of his future plans. No doubt, Richard prayed for a companion and helpmate. Endowed with the steadfast faith of his forefathers, God heard his prayers and in view of his faith brought forth an answer.