McNeill Smith Papers

1975-1979, undated; 1977-1978
Manuscript Collection #373
Smith, McNeill (John McNeill), 1918-
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box; 52 items
Preferred Citation
McNeill Smith Papers (#373), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1975-1978) [bulk 1977-1978] relating to McNeill Smith's campaign for the U. S. Senate in the 1978 North Carolina Democratic Primary Election, including brochures, campaign statements, press releases and newspaper articles.

Biographical/historical information

John McNeill Smith Jr., attorney, state legislator, and teacher, was born in Rowland, Robeson County, N.C., on 9 April 1918. He was the son of a country doctor. Smith graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1938 with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science and graduated from Columbia University in 1941 with a law degree. After World War II service in the Navy as a bomb disposal officer in North Africa, the Middle East, China, Burma, and India, Smith returned to North Carolina to practice law in Greensboro with Smith, Moore, Smith, Schell, and Hunter, a firm that became one of the largest in the state.

McNeill Smith was a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Regional Council, Vice President of the North Carolina Council of Churches and a Lay Leader of the Methodist Church. He taught Sunday school at the West Market United Methodist Church. Smith served as the Chairman for the Chamber of Commerce Downtown Improvement Committee in Greensboro, NC from 1961-1964 and served as the president for the American Business Club. He was a Charter Member for the N.C. Outward Bound School trustees; Charter member for the Greensboro College 400; an executive committee member for the Southern Regional Council from 1966-1971; and served as the director of the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union.

Smith became known as an advocate of human rights and equal justice. In 1963, he was the attorney for University of North Carolina students in the Speaker Ban case. From 1958 to 1962, Smith was co-counsel for Junius Irving Scales. In 1960, Smith was the negotiator between black and white leaders during the lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro where he pleaded for the end of discrimination.

In 1970 Smith was elected as a Democrat to the North Carolina House of Representatives: and was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1972. From 1971 to 1978, he developed a reputation as a liberal lawmaker, supporting such issues as tax reform, education, energy, consumer issues, creation of a state Department of Transportation, tougher laws against drunk drivers, and consolidation of the University of North Carolina system. In 1978, Smith unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate, losing in the Democratic primary. Smith built his campaign around defeating incumbent United States Senator Jesse Helms. After his defeat, Smith returned to civil litigation and also taught constitutional law at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1989-1990, Smith was ranked as one of the nation's most influential lawyers by the National Law Journal for his work in establishing the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union. From 1992 to 1993, Smith traveled to Estonia to help the former Soviet republic in its legal preparations to become self-governing."

Smith (born 9 April 1918) died at the age of 92 in his Greensboro, North Carolina home 15 January 2011. He was married to Louise Huske Jordan (birth? - 2000) of Fayetteville and had four children.

Scope and arrangement

The McNeill Smith Papers consists of materials (1975–1978; bulk 1977–1978) from McNeill Smith's unsuccessful campaign for the 1978 Democratic U.S. Senate Nomination.

The McNeill Smith Papers are arranged in original order. The collection includes correspondence with Albert Coates, Bill Snider, and Vermont Royster. Press releases and newspaper clippings concern McNeill's campaign and his battle to win the Democratic Primary vote against incumbent Republican senator, Jesse Helms. Printed campaign materials include brochures, posters, and fundraiser requests that outline Smith's experience and campaign background and promotes his Skinny Cats for Smith fundraiser. The collection also includes campaign statements discussing McNeill's platform and beliefs for the 1978 Democratic Primary Election for U.S. Senate.

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 9, 1978 40 items; Campaign material for 1978 Democratic primary, including press releases, position papers, campaign literature, and clippings. Donor: Honorable McNeill Smith.

February 28, 1979 (addition 1), 3 items; Correspondence (1975, 1979) photocopies. Donor: Mr. McNeill Smith.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Honorable McNeill Smith

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services, March 2002.

Processing, inventory, and finding aid by Samantha Canada, April 11, 2012.

Inventory and finding aid revised by Jonathan Dembo, May 7, 2012.

Inventory revised by Jonathan Dembo, July 23, 2012.

Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, July 23, 2012.

Finding aid revised by Allison N. MIller, February 16, 2016.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Related material

McNeill Smith Papers, 1937-1999 (Collection #04990) Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapell Hill, NC, USA.

Key terms
Personal Names
Smith, McNeill, 1918-2011
Corporate Names
Democratic Party (N.C.)
Lawyers--North Carolina
Political campaigns--North Carolina--History--20th century
Politicians--North Carolina--History--20th century
North Carolina--Politics and government--1951-

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Item 1 McNeill Smith, excerpt of a letter to Albert Coates (1975) Typescript; describing lawsuit against The University of North Carolina; mentions include the Forsyth Bar, Colonel Joyner and Gardner Hudson. 1 item. 3 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 2 McNeill Smith Letter to Bill Snider with attached letter to the Greensboro Daily Press Editor (25 January 1979) correcting an article about the Speaker Ban Law regarding who got rid of the law (Paul Dickinson III, George E. Nicholson III, Robert S. Powell, Jr., James A. Medford, Eunice H. Milton, Gary E. Waller, Stuart E. Matthews, John McSween, Henry N. Patterson Jr., Frank Wilkinson and Herbert Aptheker). 1 item. 3 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 3 McNeill Smith letter to Vermont Royster (2 February 1979) regarding the court rulings of the Speakers Ban Law and the Order of the Tar Heel 100 talk entitled "Change and Controversy in Chapel Hill". 1 item. 3 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 4 Press release (9 January 1978) in Charlotte, North Carolina from the Conference on Balanced Growth and Development announcing McNeill Smith's speech and his goal to establish a legislation to support preservation . 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 5 Press release ( 27 January 1978) at the opening of the statewide office in Raleigh, North Carolina criticizing McNeill Smith's opponent Jesse Helms on his welfare programs. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 6 Press Release (1 March 1978) in Raleigh, North Carolina outlining McNeill Smith's proposal to break the back of the OPEC cartel with a proposed boycott in response to the oil cartel. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 7 Press release (26 April 1978) in Greenville, North Carolina outlining McNeill Smith's proposal to aide the young American family while boosting the economy. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 8 Press release (27 April 1978) in New Bern, North Carolina outlining his proposal for federal tax reform by simplifying the tax code to make it more clear and defined to insure the minimum tax be paid by all. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 9 Press release (28 April 1978) in High Point, North Carolina addressing High Point Kiwanis Club discussing a need for a long term low interest loan for individuals wanting to get into farming and a strengthening of the community college system. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 10 Press release (29 April 1978) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina outlining a plan for conservative government spending by highlighting targeted employment incentives, inducing a temporary prohibition on government spending and a balanced budget with a cost saving plan. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 11 Daily Tar Heel Newspaper clipping (10 February 1978) written by Stephen Harris. Photocopy. Clipping discusses McNeill Smith's talk with law students at UNC Law school on Middle Eastern peace. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 12 Greensboro Daily News Newspaper clipping (10 April 1978) Photocopy which is a letter to the editor of a reader expressing concern about voting for a candidate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 13 Charlotte Observer Newspaper clipping photocopy (15 April 1978) written by Henry Scott discussing McNeill Smith's speech to the N.C. Association of Educators outlining the differences between himself and his rival candidate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 14 Daily News Raleigh Bureau Newspaper clipping (undated) photocopy discussing the Democratic party chairman A.B. Swindell and his efforts to get a large turnout for the Democratic election. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 15 Asheville Citizen Newspaper clipping (14 April 1978) photocopy written by Jay Hensley discussing Smith's criticisms of his opponent Luther Hodges. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 16 Joe and Jean Berry, et al. (undated) invitation to McNeill Smith candidacy reception at the Alumni House on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 17 Campaign Brochure (ca. 1978) outlining McNeill Smith's views on the times, employment, the environment, aging, race, education, human spirit, foreign policy and commitment by using his direct quotes. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 19 Donation envelope for McNeill Smith's Skinny Cats for Smith campaign and promotional newspaper clipping (19 September 1977) from the Shelby Daily Star discussing how to make a donation to his campaign . 1 item. 3 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 20 Campaign Letter (18 October 1977) addressed to "Friend". Letter presumably sent to the masses as part of McNeill Smith's Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate discussing his Skinny Cats for Smith campaign by inviting supporters to donate via a monthly bank draft. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 21 Friends of McNeill Smith Fundraiser Request sheet (ca. 1978) soliciting donations to support his campaign. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 22 McNeill Smith Democratic Campaign Card for U.S. Senate primary election (ca. 1978). 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 23 McNeill Smith Biographical Profile written by Stan Swofford (Fall 1977) outlining McNeill Smith's education, professional experience, community involvement, personal life and honors received; taken from the Greensboro Magazine, Volume 2, Number 5. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 24 Campaign brochure (ca. 1978) outlining his career accomplishments that qualify him as a valid opponent to Jesse Helms for US. Senate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 25 Campaign poster (ca. 1978) outlining his right on the record for his democratic platform for U.S. Senate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 26 Campaign packet (10 March 1978) including example of informational packet sent by mail to supporters including a letter introducing his campaign, brochure outlining his platform, a donation card, and return envelope. 1 item. 6 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 27 Program (8 April 1978) Brochure for the Appreciation Gala in honor of McNeill Smith for U.S. Senate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 28 Invitation to Rally and Entertainment (8 April 1978) for McNeill Smith at the Carolina Theatre. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 29 Poster for a Car Wash (8 April 1978) promoting McNeill Smith for U.S. Senate; Located at Texaco at Aycock and Lee Amoco on Battleground. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 30 Louise Huske Jordan Smith's [Mrs. McNeill Smith] Resume/Curriculum Vitae (undated) outlining her education at St. Mary's College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her work experience in the Commission on International Student Relations, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, Inc. and her volunteer experience in the YWCA, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Greensboro Family Life Council, North Carolina Citizens Conference on Public Heath and the Junior League. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 31 Campaign Statement Letter (14 November 1977) introducing himself as a candidate in opposition to Jesse Helms in the Democratic Primary Election for U.S. Senate . 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 32 Transcribed Campaign speech (20 September 1977) given at the Wake County Young Democrats Club in which Smith introduces himself as a candidate in the Democratic Primary Election to replace Jesse Helms as U.S. Senator and describing his views on energy spending, education, the tax reform and how he is going to successfully run for office with his campaign. 1 item. 6 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 33 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) about spending in the McNeill Smith for U.S. Senate campaign and focusing on the unemployment problem in the U.S. Duplicate. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 34 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on National Health Care describing a commitment to health care via a proposal for a national health insurance plan. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 35 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) on Community Action Agencies expressing his support for an amendment to the appropriations bill. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 36 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on Utility Rate Reform targeting the utility companies for outrageous rates and proposing the end to high rates that are subsidized by residential consumers and support for the adoption of a mandatory time-of-day pricing and other measures to cut the demand for power. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 37 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) supporting legislation for the elderly outlining his key elements for support. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 38 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) on the Humphrey-Hawkins "Full Employment" Bill. Statement expresses his support for the bill and his memorialization of Humphrey-Hawkins. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 39 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) on Deficit Spending outlining his stance on unemployment and support for a incentive program for any industry located in a high unemployment area in order to decrease the unemployment rate. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 40 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) on Home and High Interest Rates outlining loans and inflation and expressing support for a low cost loan package and conservation educational effort to help homeowners save money. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 41 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) on proposed Labor Reform Act discussing the remedies that the Act would perform. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 42 Campaign statement (ca. 1978) outlining McNeill Smith's platform on farming by supporting long term low interest rate loans and to assist farmers by using and improving the community college system in North Carolina. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 43 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on why teachers support McNeill Smith. Statement gives and describes four reasons and explanations. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 44 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on what the American Policy in the Middle East Should Be, including his fundamental principles on the Middle East. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 45 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on Challenging OPEC concerning energy use including a discussion on oil usage and discusses why the government must act to strengthen the security of our foreign oil supplies. 1 item. 8 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 46 Campaign statement (23 September 1977) regarding the real concern of the women of North Carolina including points about the Displaced Homemaker's Act, federal funding for daycares and the issue of the Equal Rights Amendment. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 47 News Conference Statement (17 January 1978) on the issues of his campaign including points such as utility rate reform, inflation, unemployment health care and education. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 48 Campaign Statement (ca. 1978) on Energy issue discussing the need for conservation of the energy that we already have, the development of alternate sources of energy and the prevention of oil, gas and utility companies from taking advantage of consumers. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 49 Campaign statement (25 April 1978) to Morganton Democrats discussing the democratic primary selection of candidate with hopes that they will support him. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 50 Campaign Statement (27 April 1978) on Tax Reform in New Bern, North Carolina discussing the guidelines for a just tax system to insure lower incomes do not bear a bigger burden than those who earn more. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 51 Wilmington Press Conference statement (24 January 1978) confirming his position on tobacco in North Carolina. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder a Item 52 Campaign Statement (19 January 1978) on Inflation and Unemployment expressing McNeil Smith's approach to deal with inflation and offering a tax incentive and wage subsidies to businesses for aiding in unemployment problems. 1 item. 1 p