DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Professor Wallace L. Smith, Jr. has not only lived through history but is himself a part of Wiregrass history, having turned 100 Tuesday.
Professor Smith was the first black principal in Ashford and received his bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University. He then furthered his education by obtaining his master’s degree from Tuskegee University.
“He became a principal of an integrated school, one of four principals in the entire state to become a principal of an integrated school,” said Wally Smith, Wallace Smith’s son. “As an African American, that was momentous.”
Many of Professor Smith’s former students paid homage to the pioneer, saying not only did he support them in the classroom, but he also supported them throughout their careers. They said he exemplified all the traits of a true leader.
“He has always been a pleasant person,” Anita Brooks said, “He always tried to help people so it’s an honor a pleasure to be here.”