International Women’s History Month: Hidden History in Oak Ridge, TN
By Rose Weaver
Lila Smith, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission holds a B.S.Degree in Mathematics from Lemoyne College and an M.S. degree in Physics from Howard University.
Her professional career includes Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Florida A&M University and LeMoyne-Owen College; Scientific Analyst (Physics), U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; Chief of Conservation and Solar Branch, U.S Energy Research and Development Administration and Chief of Nuclear Engineering and Physics Branch.
Ms. Smith participated in U.S. State Department negotiations with representatives from other countries for the exchange of energy information in support of the National Energy Strategy.
In addition to her professional work in the federal government, Ms. Smith was especially concerned with developing employment opportunities for minorities. She instituted a “stay-in-school” program which provided summer employment for high school students and established a co-op education program between Knoxville College and USDOE. She organized the Oak Ridge Chapter of Blacks In Government (BIG), Inc., and served as chapter president and vice-president of BIG Region comprising eight southern states.
As a civil rights and a community activist during the 1960s and 1970s, Ms. Smith championed the cause for open housing and equal employment in the Oak Ridge area serving on the Human Resources Board and Human Relations Council of the City of Oak Ridge, and the Tennessee Council on Human Relations.
She has received numerous awards and honors and served in many professional, civic, and community organizations. A few include: Who’s Who among Black Americans, National Forum of Black Public Administrators, and Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Civic Affairs.
She is a past president of the Oak Ridge Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and of the Board of Trustees of Oak Valley Baptist Church. She served as the building committee chairperson and construction manager for the construction of the new sanctuary and educational facility at Oak Valley Baptist Church.
She currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee and is active in community concerns at her home church, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Memphis.
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