Smith, Rev. R.L.T.

Rev. R.L.T. Smith has been dubbed “the minister of the Jackson civil rights movement.”He pastured several churches during the 1960s, including Mount Elam Baptist Church in Pearl, Mississippi, and New St. John Missionary Baptist Church, now located on Page Avenue. The owner of two grocery stores and many rental houses, Rev. Smith provided bail for jailed demonstrators and participated in the U.S. district court case seeking to prevent the payment of tax dollars by the State Sovereignty Commission to the Citizens’ Council.

In 1961, Rev. Smith was the first African American to run for Congress since Reconstruction when he challenged the incumbent John Bell Williams.


“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).