William “Duke” Smither, is a U.S. Navy Veteran (Vietnam Era, Cuban Blockade, Cuban Missile Crisis), native of Frankfort, KY, resident of Richmond, VA and retired Sr. Investigator (Corporate Security) for Dominion Energy.
As a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), majoring in Journalism, he was a sports reporter for VCU’s newspaper and sports & feature writer for the Richmond Afro-American Newspaper. With the help of his devoted wife, Sharon, in raising three kids, working rotating shifts, and attending evening college, he later graduated with a B.S. Degree in Organizational Management from St. Paul’s College (Lawrenceville, VA), returning to VCU for postgraduate studies in Criminal Justice Administration. Independent studies in African and African-American History led to “Backstreet Djeli’s Blog,” the history-related journal he created at www.backstreetdjeli.com, and duties as contributing writer for “Blackpast.Org,” the web-based reference center for African-American History, at www.blackpast.org.
In retirement, this active grandfather of six became heavily involved in faith-based community theater productions as an actor, playwright and director for plays within the scope of Afrocentric perspectives and socio-political commentary, as well as the passionate storytelling monologues he often calls the “…’Missing Pages’ from our classroom history books, within the unique stories, legacies and contributions of our ancestors.”