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.
Continue reading “Ray Smith: Secret City Historian, Veteran, Police Chaplain Emeritus”
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.
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
Continue reading “The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City”