Episode 10: Words of Wisdom from a Wise Black Man!
Closing Music Credits: WOLF
Who is James Parrish Smith?
Renowned for visionary leadership in ministry, education, non-profit management, and entertainment, J. P. as he prefers to be called, served as Warren Central High Schools, Counseling Services Centers, first Program Coordinator from 1995-2011. Near the completion of his tenure, he also held dual responsibilities as Program Coordinator and Counselor. In his role as Program Coordinator, he was responsible for the oversight of the Counseling Services Centers Special Programs. A number of these programs targeted low income and first-generation college students. The programs provided participating students with access to post-secondary opportunities.
Mr. Smith served as the school’s liaison with the University of Indianapolis, Bridge Scholars; I.U.P.U.I., Upward Bound; Indiana University Groups, and the State of Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program. Mr. Smith supported district initiatives through his involvement in various organizations. He also played a key role in ensuring marked increases in student post-secondary admissions, employment, non-commissioned military officer admissions, and securing program funding. During his tenure, both superintendents cited his many contributions to the district and its families.
Prior to his tenure at MSD Warren Townships, Warren Central High School, he served as an Executive Director; Director; Program Specialist; and Career Specialist.
A respected alumnus of I.U.P.U.I., and a charter member of the Iota Phi Theta graduate chapter, Mr. Smith continues to serve the community. He earned a master’s degree in Guidance & Counseling from I.U.P.U.I. and an undergraduate degree in Psychology/String Music from Tougaloo College. J. P. also did extensive theological research on the “African Presence in Biblical Times” in Israel.
Growing up in Mississippi
Mr. Smith discusses his family upbringing and how his father passed away at a young age.
Without a father, he had many father figures like his cousin. He continues to mentor others because of his past experience.
What it meant to have his mom working as a “maid” for white families.
He was asked about his time at Mississippi Valley State, Tougaloo College, and Jackson State. He was at Jackson State during the 1970 Killings and discussed his experience.
Black History being taught in the schools
His view is that Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native American History should be taught along with black history in the schools. “We as a community should be teaching our young people before they even enter school. We should teach them at home and not just in schools.”
Start small with teaching young kids about our history by storytelling like this podcast. “We come from a history of telling stories, we didn’t write about them because we were taught not to read or write so we communicated orally.”
What can kids learn from this interview?
Miles, a 7-year old boy from Chicago listened to this podcast and stated what he learned. Miles learned the role of a “maid” during J.P’s time. He said he would have asked his mom to stay home with him and not go to work. To make money, they would go fishing together and sell the fish for money instead of working not being around and raising other people’s children.