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Story Idea of the Week

Karyn Barber, 407.246.4275
Cassandra Lafser, 407.246.2182



Thursday, April 25, 2019
11:30 a.m. – New Neighborhood Center Plaque to Honor Life of Dr. James R. Smith
Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center, 1723 Bruton Boulevard 

The community will gather on Thursday to celebrate the birthday of Dr. James R. Smith and commemorate his memory with the unveiling of a new plaque at the Orlando community center named in his honor. The new plaque will replace an old, sun bleached sign that previously hung at the center and will serve as a permanent reminder of his life, legacy and lasting impact on the City of Orlando and the African-American community of Central Florida.

In the 1940s Dr. Smith was one of five physicians serving the more than 40k African-Americans living in Orlando before desegregation. He also established a maternity clinic in 1951 to provide women of color a clean and safe place to give birth to their children.

Seeing further need to bring the community together and provide resources beyond medical care, Dr. Smith also founded the Washington Shores Association for Recreation, a non-profit organization, that provided similar programs and activities offered by the Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center today.

Following the unveiling, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 6 Commissioner Samuel B. Ings will be available for interviews to discuss the legacy of Dr. James R. Smith and his lasting influence within Orlando’s African-American community.