Marsha Smiley African American Collection
Marsha Smiley is a dedicated volunteer in the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana community. She is an active member of the African/African American Historical Society & Museum board of directors as well as serving on the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society governing board. She has often been recognized for her tireless contributions to the community in serving at-risk and underprivileged youth and promoting literacy. Among her many activities, she has volunteered for Project Reads (Reading Early Assistance Developing Skills), initiated reading programs in several youth centers, and formed black history clubs to get youth excited about celebrating African American achievements and culture.
Marsha received various prestigious awards and honors, including the 1998 Doing Good Works Award from the United Way of Allen County and the Literacy Alliance's Year 2002 Literacy Star Award. She and her husband Ephraim also were nominated for the 2004 David Kellam Award which the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of the United States gives annually for youth empowerment. She cofounded Tahirh's House in 1998 as a transitional shelter for the mentally ill.
In 1999, Marsha founded Spirit Flight youth workshops which interweave highlights of African American history with character building. Marsha continues to educate, inspire, and nurture children and adolescents at the McCormick Boys and Girls Club. In 2012, Marsha was awarded the Corrine Mudd Brooks Service Award for commitment to youth & community by the African/African American Historical Society; and in 2014 she was the Peggy Hobbs Award recipient for outstanding volunteerism by Y.W.C.A. of Northeast Indiana. Having spent more than two decades motivating children to embrace the rich legacy that is in African American history, through character-building and education, she has fulfilled her passions and met her mission.
Truly, Marsha's passion for education and history are evidenced in her activities. She has donated and loaned numerous materials to The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library for preservation and presenting online for researchers to use. The records here are a portion of her materials.
[from Frost Illustrated and Curt Witcher]
African/African American Historical Museum Highlights
- African/African American Historical Society & Museum, Fort Wayne, IN, Grand Opening
- First Black History Art Contest in Fort Wayne, IN
- Thankful for Our Heritage: A Celebration
Crossing Opportunity's Threshold
- Miriam M. Blanks: Seizing Opportunities
- Henry & Caroline Cannady: Early Allen County, IN Pioneers
- Pat Harris: Tireless Advocate for the Neglected
- Clarence E. Haynes: Haynes Pharmacy Owner
- Vernon Howell: Extraordinary Businesswoman
- Laura Jackson: First African American Fort Wayne Police Department Policewoman
- Joseph H. Lattimore: Fort Wayne Newspapers
- Adeline Rhodes: Outstanding Civil Leader
- Jacquei Seals: In Pursuit of Her Creativity Thru Textiles Project
- Clarence Stuart: Pioneer Businessman
- Leo Underwood: Unparalleled Generosity
- Jesse White: Civil Rights Leader
- Edna Roland Williams: First African American Social Worker in Allen County
- Beauford Thomas Williams: Singer "Eddie Blue"
- William G. Williams: Eradicating Oppression
- Genois Young Wilson: First Female Fort Wayne Fire Department Firefighter
- Carrie Gaines, Daughters of Improved Benevolent Protective Order Elks of the World
- Carrie Gaines, Eastern Star Dues Book, 1908
- Josephine Williams, Eastern Star Dues Book, 1964-1970
- Josephine Williams, Eastern Star Dues Book, 1975-1981
- Prince Hall Low 12 Club Bylaws
- An Injustice That Could Not Prevail
- Elma E. Alsup: Hoosier Woman Beyond Measure
- Ethel Bell Appreciation Program
- Extolling Indiana's Colored Women's Clubs
- International Women's Day, Ft. Wayne, IN, 100th Anniversary
Spirit Flight: Engaging Youth