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MLKC Scholar-in-Residence Program

The MLKC Scholar-in-Residence Program is a new initiative developed by the Office for Institutional Diversity. The goals of this new program are four fold:

  • To aid the Director of the center in enhancing the scholarly programming offered by the center.
  • To give even greater emphasis to Dr. King’s focus on global social justice.
  • To continue the center’s long history of outreach programming into the Lexington community.
  • To move the center more closely to the center of academic life at the university involving faculty on a rotating bi-annual basis.

MLKC Scholar in Residence Dr. Gerald L. SmithWelcome from the MLKC Scholar in Residence

I am humbled and blessed to serve as the Martin Luther King Scholar-in-Residence. Dr. King was a man of action and ideas. Therefore, I will seek to represent the spirit of his faith, intelligence, and work ethic in support of the Martin Luther King Center.

Gerald L. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
General Co-Editor, Kentucky African American Encyclopedia Project MLKC Scholar in Residence


Gerald Smith is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. He earned his B.A, M.A., and Ph. D degrees from the University of Kentucky in history. He taught at the University of Memphis from 1988-1993. Afterwards he returned to UK as a tenured associate professor of African American history. From 1997-2005, he served as the director of the African American Studies and Research Program. In 2003, he was called to pastor the Farristown Baptist Church in Berea, Kentucky where he served until November 2011. He now serves as the pastor of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lexington.

Dr. Smith is the author, editor, or co-editor of three books. He is a contributing volume co-editor of the Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume Six: Advocate of the Social Gospel which consist of the never-before-published sermons of Dr. King. He has nearly forty other publications in historical journals and encyclopedias. He has consulted on various historical projects, lectured on college campuses around the state, and conducted workshops for primary and secondary school teachers. He has also appeared in historical documentaries which have aired on CBS, NBC, KET, and TruTV. He is currently researching and writing a new general history of African Americans in Kentucky and working as a general co-editor of The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia.

Dr. Smith has served on a number of different boards and committees and now serves as chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission. His awards include: selection as a National Faculty Scholar (1997); Who's Who Among African Americans (2000); induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars of Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia ( March 2000); The Real Men, Real Fathers Award, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, (2004); and the Evelyn Black Award from the UK Black Student Union (2005). He is a 2006 inductee into the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame in Lexington, Kentucky; a recipient of the 2011 Richard H. Collins Award from the Kentucky Historical Society, a 2012 inductee into the UK chapter of Phi Theta Phi National Honor Society; and, one of six professors on campus chosen by the UK Alumni Association to receive the 2013Great Teacher Award.