In 1841 pioneering abolitionist and feminist, Frederick Douglass, delivered his first public address on Nantucket at a meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. He is documented to have spoken in Edgartown in 1857 and in 1876 in Oak Bluffs, at the Tabernacle.
At Yale University, Smith, worked as a graduate assistant at the Frederick Douglass Papers. He has since continued to play Douglass to international acclaim, while constructing an unparalleled body of work for the stage and screen.
Mr. Smith adapted his Obie Award-winning A Huey P Newton Story into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm. His Bessie Award-winning Rodney King is currently streaming on Netflix. Both King and Newton were directed by Smith’s long-time friend, Spike Lee. Their many collaborations also include, Do the Right Thing, for which Mr. Smith created the stuttering hero, Smiley. His screen credits include work inspired by Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Michael Manley, Nat Turner, Madam CJ Walker, and Booker T Washington, as well as the series, Queen Sugar, K Street, and Oz.