This episode is the first of a two-part tribute to a man whose passion for social justice and cultural memory impacted hundreds of people in the St. Louis region: Dr. Jonathan Cedric Smith, who died this year on Juneteenth. Among many community roles, he served on the board of St. Louis Public Radio. Last year, Lauren and Jia Lian had the opportunity to interview Dr. Smith about his perspective as Co-Chair of the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project. To introduce you to this project and Dr. Smith’s role in it, we speak with Marissanne Lewis-Thompson, afternoon newscaster and general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. Then, we travel back in time to share Jonathan’s own words about what the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project meant to him. Finally, historian Dr. Kelly Schmidt will explain how Jonathan’s care for descendant communities shaped the project and his youngest brother, Jacques, will share how Jonathan’s passion for cultural memory, ancestry, and history began.
Jonathan Smith, the vice president for diversity and community engagement at St. Louis University, has died. Smith, 61, served as an assistant professor of American Studies and African American Studies, and would later become the university’s first chief diversity officer.