Remembering Dr. Irene Hill-Smith

A panel of family members and community leaders will remember the life and work of Dr. Irene Hill-Smith. on Sunday, March 5, 2023, at 3 p.m., at the historic Richwood Academy Cultural Center.  

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Dr. Hill-Smith was a national leader in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s whose distinguished career began here in Gloucester County. Born in Mullica Hill, Hill-Smith began her education in the segregated High Street School.  She went on to graduate from Glassboro High School, study at Virginia State and receive a doctorate in humanities from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.  Having served as president of the Gloucester County and New Jersey NAACP, she rose to become the Association’s national vice president from 1967 to 1979.  Always at the civil rights forefront, she worked with Dr. Martin Luther King and was one of the community leaders called by President Lyndon Johnson to help craft the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. She remained a prominent activist until her death in 2011.

On Sunday, March 5, Robert Greene, Harrison Township Historical Society Trustee, will lead a remembrance of Dr. Hill-Smith’s life and work with a distinguished panel of family members and community leaders.  Her son, Michael Smith, will be joined by nieces Caprice Hill-Black and Patricia Taylor, Jacquelyn Love, retired Deputy Mayor, Deptford Township, and Loretta winters, President of the Gloucester County NAACP, to provide reminiscences and insights into Dr. Hill-Smith’s distinguished career.

Despite her many accomplishments and national prominence, Dr. Hill-Smith never lost sight of her local origins.  As she stated in an interview for the Harrison Township Historical Society:

“Everything I am, I am because of my environment, where I was born, where I went to school, where I was raised.  Everything I’ve been, good or bad, goes back to Mullica Hill, and thank God, it’s been good.”

Richwood Academy Cultural Center is located at 836 Lambs Road, Richwood, NJ.  There is no admission fee; free tickets are available online at the Harrison Township Historical Society’s public Facebook page.  The program will also be livestreamed and archived at Facebook for future viewing.  Facebook membership is not required to access the program.  Information can be found at Facebook and at Old Town Hall Museum 856-478-4949.

The Harrison Township Historical Society’s arts and history programs are made possible in part by funding from the Gloucester County Cultural and Heritage Commission at Rowan College of South Jersey, in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State. 

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