The Midnight Mayor of Charleston, S.C.: The Henry Smith Story

Maxine Smith

The contents include memories of others in six chapters: segregation, business, influence, family, friendship, and mentorship. There is also a photo gallery and a section with memories of those who saw many African American entertainers at County Hall. Newspaper clippings from The Post and Courier and The Charleston Evening Post show ads from “Henry Smith Presents” from the 1940s to the late 1960s.
Maxine started her journey writing about her father and interviewing more than 90 persons for the book in 2012.  Her work was interrupted after the June 17, 2015 massacre of nine members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church.  She served as the public relations liaison, handling communications with the media for families of the victims, survivors and church members.
Professor Damon L. Fordham, an adjunct faculty member at The Citadel says “The phenomenon of a ‘midnight mayor’,  a black man who took care of the social and political needs of his community at a time when few could vote or had any legitimate political power, is an interesting one, but it was not uncommon during Henry Smith’s lifetime. It is safe to say that each Southern city of size during the Jim Crow era had a black person who was able to speak for and manage the affairs of the African American neighborhoods. Henry Smith’s biography is important in preserving one such story.”
The Midnight Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina is published by Home House Press in Charleston.  The foreword to the book was written by The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr. former mayor of the city of Charleston from 1975 to 2016.  

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