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Memory Hold The Door, Volume VII: 2018–2027

Memory Hold The Door Honorees from 2018 to 2027.

Albert V. Smith (1946-2021)

Albert V. SmithAlbert V. Smith was born August 21, 1946, in Union County, to parents Alma Porter and Early Smith. Having been stricken with tuberculosis at an early age, many of Albert’s educational experiences included home schooling and being educated at the state hospital in Columbia. After being told he would not graduate, he was so driven to overcome health and learning disadvantages that he tested out of and was exempt from his senior year of high school. In 1965, he was accepted into Voorhees College in Denmark, SC. He decided to briefly enroll in Friend- ship College in Rock Hill and soon afterwards enrolled in the Carolina School of Broadcasting in Charlotte, NC, becoming the first African American graduate.


In 1973, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina Upstate, while working for Spartan Radio Casting’s owner of WSPA television, as a news reporter. After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Albert was accepted into the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1980.


After graduating law school, he joined Turnipseed, Holland and Smith Law Firm in Spartanburg. He later opened his own law firm, where he practiced for 31 years.


He was the first black president of the Spartanburg County Bar Association, served as chair of the SC Committee of Character and Fitness and the Spartan- burg County Democratic Party. He was the first lawyer in South Carolina to challenge and defeat the racial exclusion of blacks from jury selection in criminal prosecution (State v. Ogelsby); and was appointed to the SC Commission on Lawyer Conduct.


He served with dignity as a board member for USC Upstate and was privileged to perform corporate and community services as a board member for Palmetto Bank, now known as United Community Bank.


He best summed up his mission as a practicing attorney in the 1981 interview with the Spartanburg-Herald Journal by saying, “I intend to be the best lawyer I can and if people in Spartanburg feel that Albert Smith is trustworthy, that’s the best I can hope for.”


Albert was a well-respected and devoted Deacon at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, where he was the official attorney of the church and served as secretary-treasurer for the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Foundation. He was the first black member of the Piedmont Club.


Albert V. Smith died on January 13, 2021. He is survived by his spouse, Helen B. Smith; two daughters, Angela Garrett, and Patrice Chappell; and five grandchildren.