Distributed January 12, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis



Sixth annual lecture

Jane E. Smith to give Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Jan. 29
Jane E. Smith, president and CEO of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., will speak on Interchangeable Experiences: Building America in a New Century on Monday, Jan. 29, 2001 at 7 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching. This is Brown’s sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture, and it is free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Jane E. Smith, president and CEO of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., will deliver Brown’s sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture, titled Interchangeable Experiences: Building America in a New Century, on Monday, Jan. 29, 2001 at 7 p.m. in Salomon Center for Teaching.

Smith, recently named by Success Guide as one of the “Fab 50 Most Influential Speakers” for 2000-2001, will discuss the need for Americans to recognize our common ground as we celebrate our diversity.

“We are more alike than different. All human beings have the same basic needs,” said Smith. The lecture is free and open to the public.

For the past three years, Smith has served as head of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., a 65-year-old advocacy agency that strives to improve the quality of life of African-American women, their families and communities. As the NCNW’s first appointed chief executive, she follows in the footsteps of former organization presidents Dorothy I. Height, one of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders, and Mary McLeod Bethune, the Council’s founder and an advisor to U.S. presidents.

Smith earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University, a masters degree from Emory University and a B.A. from Atlanta’s Spelman College. Following her graduate work, she returned to Spelman as a Whitney Young and Woodrow Wilson Fellow and was appointed assistant to the college president; in that capacity she was chosen for an American Council of Education Fellowship and managed Spelman’s multimillion dollar Advanced Institutional Development Grant program.

From 1981 to 1991 Smith served as the first managing director for the INROADS programs in Atlanta and Detroit, setting up facilities and program operations for both offices; she later assumed fund-raising responsibility for 36 branches of INROADS, Inc. In 1991, at the invitation of Coretta Scott King, she joined the New Direction Team at the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, where she became the director of development. She was also director of the Atlanta Project (an urban initiative created by former President Jimmy Carter), where she worked to improve the quality of neighborhood life and created an aggressive urban agenda based on partnerships between the community and corporations. She continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the East Lake Community Foundation, an Atlanta revitalization project that sponsors housing construction and other community programs.

Smith and her work have been featured in USA Today, ESSENCE, LIFE and Emerge; she has also appeared on C-Span, in CNN’s special Between Black and White and, as chair of the Women’s Vote Project, on Lifetime TV. She is the recipient of numerous national and local awards from organizations such as the NAACP, the Young Women’s Christian Association and Allstate Insurance Company, and she was appointed by President Clinton to the National Women’s Business Council. Smith is a member of the Black Leadership Forum and the national advisory boards for Reading is Fundamental and Connect America, in addition to serving on the boards of directors for the AFL-CIO’s Union Community Fund, the Phelps-Stokes Funad and Knoxville College.

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