|"Those who knew him best kept coming back to the same words: freedom fighter.|
'Vasco was a great soldier in the fight for freedom," said former NAACP leader Dr. Benjamin Hooks of Memphis.'"
(The Commercial Appeal, September 28, 2009)
Vasco A. Smith, Jr., dentist, former County Commissioner, and civil rights advocate, died September 28, 2009.
Dr. Smith was born in Arkansas but graduated from Memphis Booker T. Washington High School. From there, he went on to LeMoyne College and then Meharry Medical College. He served in the military during World War II and the Korean conflict.
Dr. Smith had an arrest record — arrests for peaceful protests during the civil rights movement. He and his wife, Maxine Smith, were strong advocates for equal rights. Mrs. Smith became the executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP.
Vasco Smith was elected to the Shelby County Quorum Court in 1973 and continued with the county's legislative body when it became the Shelby County Commission until 1994.