Hidden History from the Secret City Revealed

Mr. Keith McDaniel, author, teacher, documentary filmmaker, owner of Secret City Films, and Knoxville Film Festival Executive Director and Mr. Ray Smith, City of Oak, Tennessee Historian, have much in common and have worked together on several projects over the years combining their many shared skills and unique talents to bring history to light and alive. 

I was honored (and yes, of course terrified) when they recently hosted me as a guest on their program Hidden History: Stories from the Secret City and invited me to share a bit of the story and progress on my journey to write a book on the integration of Oak Ridge, TN. (Video below.)

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PART 3: Law Enforcement Series: Police Chief Scott Young of New Hampshire ~ Retired & Re-hired, A Heart to Serve & Mentor

Chief Scott Young, a U.S. Marine veteran, retired after faithfully serving 20 years as police chief in Stafford, New Hampshire. Retirement didn’t last long, though. Chief Young raised the bar with his example when, at the request of the Barrington, NH Police Department, he returned to law enforcement as a patrolman to help train and mentor new and ranking police officers.

Chief Young comes from a lineage of police officers, starting with his grandfather and uncles. Now he, two of his sons, and his brother continue their family story of service to our nation and their communities. His family history also includes generations of service as Marines and firefighters, with several continuing this tradition. What a gift Chief Scott Young and his family are!

But as much as Chief Young loves serving in law enforcement, he shares there’s something even more important to him.

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My Interview with Civil Rights Icon Ambassador Andrew Young

What an honor and a delight to speak to Civil Rights Icon Ambassador Andrew Young and share this video interview with you. Ambassador Young was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s trusted friend and top strategist in the #CivilRightsMovement. He celebrated his 90th birthday on March 12th, 2022. (Happy Birthday Ambassador Andrew Young. Thank you for your example and lifetime of service to our country and the world.) 

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Angelina Lives! ~ A Hope Filled Pro-life Story

We live in a time where many demand their rights, but few rise to their responsibilities. In some ancient cultures, they sacrificed their children to pagan gods. Today, many sacrifice their children on the altar of convenience, self-preservation, and pleasure. Man’s short-term solutions based on his desires and emotions often cause more significant problems in the long term. 

But Fourteen years ago, I witnessed a young mom withstand a tirade of angry faces, phone calls, angry words hurled in public places. 

“Get a *?#*!#! abortion!” they said. 

“No!” the mama said. She would not take the life of her child. — Angelina lives! I took her newborn pictures, and today I have the joy and honor of introducing you to her via this inspiring 12 minute video conversation below, followed by some engaging resources offering help, hope, and healing to those in similar situations.

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Part 2 – Law Enforcement Series: Brian Morrison ~ Community Resource & Civil Rights Police Officer, Barnstable, Massachusetts

At a time in our nation fraught with division, Officer Brian Morrison of the Barnstable, Massachusetts Police Department has embedded himself in his community. He serves as the department’s community resource and civil rights officer among many other involvements. His perspective as a Black police officer, his service, and influence as a bridge between people has won him awards and the hearts of the Cape Cod community and beyond.

“There’s a trick to community policing. ‘Start with the kids.'” Officer Morrison stated in a 2021 Cape Cod Times article by Jeannette Hinkle. “A School Resource Officer’s role is not limited to being a police officer as they are a counselor, teacher, coach, and mentor.” No wonder he is viewed by many as the unofficial Mayor of Cape Cod. What a privilege to introduce you to him during Black History Month in this video interview with an optional downloadable audio version. — Oh, and apparently some police officers prefer chocolate chip cookies! I’ll make sure to remember that, Officer Morrison.

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Part 1 ~ Law Enforcement Series: A Master Police Officer, Veteran, Former Atheist, and His Extraordinary Wife

Master Police Officer Lewis has served in Virginia for 15 years. He was an active duty U.S. Naval officer for eight years and then in the reserves. He is also a former atheist. Officer Lewis and his wife Mickey adopted their two children from South Korea. Their son is on the autism spectrum. Mickey is a complex trauma survivor and a licensed professional counselor in practice for 15 years. She specializes in trauma treatment: working with abuse victims, sex trafficking survivors, and first responders—those struggling with PTSD.

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PART 3: The Integration of Oak Ridge & Remembering #MLK

Dr. Spicer approached the two men who sat with rifles pointed out the window of a car parked in the middle of the lot.

“I thought about what might happen to me, my family, and the Black ladies who just came to wash their clothes…” Click HERE to continue reading  PART 3 in my series, The Integration of Oak Ridge: A unique perspective in the OAK RIDGER NEWSPAPER under city historian Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column. #CivilRightsMovement

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PART 2: The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City

The young Black man stood against the backdrop of Trinity United Methodist Church on Robertsville Road in the late afternoon. Jefferson Avenue stretched across the way. It was the summer of 1963 and the picketers had gathered again outside the MultiMatic Laundry at the end of the West Mall and Market Area in Jefferson Center. Their goal: integrate the laundromat. 

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Ray Smith: Secret City Historian, Veteran, Police Chaplain Emeritus

Ray Smith is a man of many missions, a man of many hats and he wears them well: Secret City historian, U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran, Chaplain Emeritus, having served the Oak Ridge Police Department for 23 years.  Mr. Smith is also an engaging storyteller, author, videographer, Tennessee Historical Commission Commissioner, teacher, photographer, documentary producer, multi award-winning citizen, church elder, father, and devoted husband to his beloved wife of 57 years.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ray Smith in May 2021 when he gave me a tour of the Oak Ridge History Museum as part of my research trip for the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s. What a delight to discover he was a police chaplain as I’m about to embark on a series featuring law enforcement officers from around the country.

Mr. Ray Smith’s achievements resemble what would take several men a lifetime to accomplish. He calls himself retired but shows no signs of slowing down. I’m honored to host this brave, humble hero in this video interview and share his stories, insights, and resources with you. Enjoy.

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The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City

I almost quit. I didn’t think I could write the article. But it made the front page of the Friday print edition of the Oak Ridger newspaper under the city historian Mr. Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column.

The battle to write is fierce. I’ve cried my way through writing articles, written under the weight of discouragement and doubt, thought I’d never finish some pieces, and almost didn’t submit others. But several of the hardest pieces to write opened doors, won awards, and people blessed me when they shared my writing ministered to them. —Don’t quit.

We must each obey our call and trust God to enable and use us as He wills. (Remind me of that tomorrow, please.)

Created in 1942, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as the Secret City and the Atomic City, was one of the three major sites set up as part of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project. The scientists at the laboratory in the Secret City developed the materials to build the atomic bomb that ended WWII. But Oak Ridge has other stories. Twenty years after its inception, Black citizens, many of whom the government had brought in to build the laboratory and city, still lived under the oppressive culture and restrictions of Jim Crow segregation laws. 

This article is the first in a series Mr. Smith invited me to write for his column. (Thank you.) 🙂 The articles and the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s were first inspired by the stories of my father-in-law and his best friend. They will feature the accounts of many valiant souls with a message for today. 

“Beneath Dr. James Spicer’s charming drawl and calm demeanor lies a steely resolve, a…” Click HERE to read my article in the Oak Ridger newspaper: The Integration of Oak Ridge: A Unique Perspective

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