Richard D. Smith and his family became pillars of strength in the community of Renova, Mississippi. Chief Grand Mentor Smith worked tirelessly and expanded the growth of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor. The family joined the Calvary Baptist Church where they all took very active parts in the church’s program. They also played important roles in developing the welfare and progress of the town of Renova.
On July 31, 1909 Richard Darden Smith put aside his gavel and badge of leadership; he had fulfilled the challenge, which is the heritage of all black Americans; he had been fruitful in obedience to God’s command; he silently folded his tent and stole away in answer to the sound of the Heavenly gavel. In accordance with the life he lived, he heard the Chief of all creation say “well done”.
Millie Emmaline Smith, who shared the responsibilities that God had commanded, joined her companion in 1937 and together they were reunited with family and loved ones who had come through tribulation and adversities and altogether they sang a new song as they fell upon their knees before the great white throne (“We’ve Come This Far By Faith”). As they enjoy that Heavenly reunion in eternity, they no doubt look upon us today to see how well we meet the challenge; to see how well we carry the torch they handed down to us as we too travel through the tunnel of hatred, inequities and tribulations as we travel toward that light that awaits us at the end. As we gather here today to strengthen family ties, renew old acquaintances and enjoy the other blessing God has in store for us, let us be mindful of stony roads and the blood of the slaughtered through which our fore parents trod, let us give thanks to God of our fathers for that faith and may it live forever in our hearts and become a part of the lives of generations yet unborn.
It is fitting and proper as we turn back the hands of time to see what God wrought that we take inventory of the present, with a prospective view of what the future holds in store for descendants of Richard and Millie Smith. Let us determine in our hearts that the faith, foresight and vision that characterized their lives and the lives of Will, Perry Monroe, Walter, Moses Alexander and Arthur Smith will make an indelible impression in the hearts of future generations.
The children of Will Smith were Richard, Janet, and Vivian. Lois Rayon was the only child of Walter Smith. The children of Moses Alexander are Claude, Lloyd, Lawrence (deceased), Millie, Roscoe (deceased), William, Pauline, Modestine, Roy, Arthur Wendell and Ruth Janet.
Perry Monroe Smith represented the connecting link between the Smith and the Anderson families.
After the shackles of slavery had been broken and black people were declared to be free, bearing the scars of the chains of servitude and with little or no knowledge of independent survival, the children of adversity settled in various parts of the country to enjoy a freedom they had never known. To some, liberty and independence were not a reality and they chose to remain surrounded by the atmosphere of the only life they had ever known.
While the family of Richard Darden and Millie E. Smith chose to settle in the rich farmlands of the Mississippi Delta, our story shifts to another family who established their roots in the rugged hills of Holmes County, Mississippi as did many of the newly freed black children of God. They had faith that the places where the darkness of slavery had hidden the light from their forefathers, they could now look through the darkness of slavery and see the beckoning light of a new day.