Civil Rights Veteran, Minister, Educator, Author, Diversity Role Model

With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.and Ambassador Andrew Young as friends and mentors, Dr. Paul Smith entered the ministry in 1960. He soon became a stalwart marcher in the US Civil Rights Movement. Inspired and guided by theologian and mystic Dr. Howard Thurman, Dr. Smith has made diversity and inclusiveness hallmarks of his life’s work.

Dr. Smith has created unique and successful models of multi-cultural worship and interfaith collaboration at churches in Buffalo, NY, St. Louis, MO, Atlanta, GA and Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Smith has shared his pulpit with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Ambassador Andrew Young, tennis great Arthur Ashe, Urban League President Marc Morial, Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, members of both houses of Congress, Soka Gakkai Buddhist leaders, the Masjid Al Farah Sufi Congregation and Rabbis from several synagogues.

Outside the church, Dr. Smith is a minority and diversity consultant for Macy’s Federated Stores and American Honda Motors, called upon as negotiator/facilitator in disputes where race is a major factor. As Board Chairman of the Ethics Committee at Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital,he worked with doctors and staff to inform and support regarding difficult patient care decisions. Dr. Smith has also conducted racial sensitivity training for the New York Police Dept. and the US Government.

President Emeritus of Healthy Families, Dr. Smith has also served on the boards of Union Seminary, NARAL, Compassion and Choices, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Long Island University. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Continuum Health Partners, Inc.Dr. Smith has taught at New York Seminary, Union Seminary and New York’s New School. He was Vice President of Morehouse College and Vice-Chancellor at Washington University.

Dr. Smith’s book, Facing Death, chronicles his experiences ministering intimately to the dying and their loved ones. His second book, now in the works, will deal with health care issues from a family perspective.

Hildi Hendrickson, Ph.D., an anthropologist and author, has researched and written a biography of Dr. Smith that is forthcoming from University of Georgia Press, Athens, in June 2021. Pre-publication orders can be placed at   Keep up with the latest on our Facebook page,

“” is an extension of the voice and mission of this important leader. He encourages dialog from site users via the site’s blog. “Dr. Paul” writes regularly here on issues critical to creating a world of inclusiveness, diversity, peace and justice.

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