Honoring the legacy of Sam Smith, whose commitment to lifelong learning made an impact in West Las Vegas and beyond.
BY DR. AL GOURRIER
Having just recognized Father’s Day, it’s a wonderful time to honor a man who, for many years, was a father figure to many in West Las Vegas.
His name was Sam Smith, and his longtime ownership of Native Son Bookstore has made a tremendous impact on Las Vegas’ African-American community. He passed away Feb. 9, 2015, but his legacy lives on — not only in the hearts and minds of those whose lives he touched, but also through the work of the Samuel L. Smith Educational Foundation.
Keeping Sam’s memory alive will not be a difficult task. He will be forever remembered for a commitment to lifelong learning exemplified by his creation of the Native Son Spelling Bee, Smith Group Think Tank and the Gathering. This is not to mention his work to advance the interests of ethnic minorities and women in every major fire department in the region.
Sam was a firefighter himself, but nothing could extinguish the fire in his heart to make a difference for the community. A true drum major for justice, he was an strong advocate for education, cultural awareness and economic development. His life’s mission was to strive for, and establish, a growth partnership with his community. He accomplished this by inspiring and empowering all who approached him for guidance and wisdom.
In the spirit of its namesake, the Samuel L. Smith Educational Foundation has a vision to educate, empower and unite. Its first act will be to establish a scholarship in Sam’s name, and those who wish to support it can send contributions to the Samuel L. Smith Educational Foundation at 91 E. Agate Suite #507, Las Vegas, NV 89123.