Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

C. F. Smith Family Collection:

An Inventory of Records at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Smith, C. F.
Title C. F. Smith Family Collection
Inclusive Dates 1950-1981
Identification MSS 0249
Extent 1 document box (0.5 linear feet)
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Historical Note

C. F. Smith grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward. He attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where in 1938 he received a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Industries with an emphasis in electrical engineering. After a brief period during which he was the first black movie projectionist in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Smith served in the Navy Seabees. He returned to Houston after his discharge from the service, and in 1943 became the first African American to pass the City of Houston Electrician’s exam. In 1945, Smith opened his business, the C. F. Smith Electric Co. In addition to his business, Smith has been involved in various community organizations, from the Boy Scouts to the Houston chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. He was an active member of Tuskegee Institute alumni groups.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a selection of materials that document some of C. F. Smith’s activities. The collection is not comprehensive, but it does provide a glimpse into his life.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions


Index Terms

African American business enterprises
Open and closed shop
Right to labor
Labor unions--Texas--Houston
C. F. Smith Electric Co.
Smith, Clifford F., Jr.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

C. F. Smith Family Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Patricia Prather, 1984.

Processing Information

Processed by: Andrew Hempe, November 1999.

Detailed Description


Tuskegee Institute: Parents Day Committee

Contains primarily correspondence both to and from Smith relating to his activities as Chairman of the Parents Day Committee.
Box Folder
1 1 1965
2 1966


Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Box Folder
1 3 ABC Bylaws; Policy and Personnel Manual; Committee Structure; 1978 Officers; Merit Shop Construction Employment Agency Description
4 ABC of Texas Public Relations Report
5 ABC of Houston: Minutes, August 1976 - December 1977
6 Reference Material for Campaign to Repeal Prevailing Wage Law, 1981


Professional Activities

Box Folder
1 7 C. F. Smith Resume
8 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1977-1978
9 Certificates


News clippings

Box Folder
1 10 “The Right-to-Work Fight Misses the Point” Saturday Evening Post February 26, 1966
10 “Right-to-Work: Eases Union Discrimination” Independent Electrical Contractor Spring 1974
10 “Clifford Farrell Smith, Jr.: Man with a Mission” The Josephine Harvest March-April 1968
10 “‘Prodigal Son’ in Song, Color Draws 5000” Houston Chronicle November 19, 1955
10 “Choral Group to Appear on TV” December 1965
10 “Smith Testifys Against Common Situs” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report March 11, 1977
10 “Tuskegee Graduates Point with Pride” Houston Post August 26, 1973
10 “AFL-CIO Asked to Help Eliminate Race Bias from Union Membership”
10 “The Human Dynamo” Houston Post August 13, 1972
10 “Houston Electrician in U.S. Capital Trying to End Union Discrimination” Texas Catholic Herald July 28, 1967
10 “Businessman Fights Labor Union Bias” New Day, supplement to Houston Forward Times May 28, 1966
10 “Smith Co. Concentrates on ‘Little Job,’ Too” Houston Informer May 20, 1950
10 “‘Small Job’ Clients Save in Smith Co. Route Plan” May 27, 1950
10 “Smith Electric Company Puts Stress on Youth” Houston Informer April 29, 1950
10 “Smith Co. Journeyman Has Forty Years Experience” May 6, 1950
10 “C. F. Smith Electric Co. Rates Among Best in City” Houston Informer 1950
10 “Smith Electic Company Stresses High Quality Personnel and Materials” May 13, 1950
10 “Smith Co. Journeyman in Charge of $500,000 Job” Houston Informer April 22, 1950
10 “C. F. Smith Electric Co.” April 15, 1950
10 “C. F. Smith Co. Employees Protected with Insurance” June 3, 1950
10 “Electrician Says Cheap Material too Costly” June 10, 1950
10 “Zeta Sisters Add Charm to Sigma Program” Houston Informer August 24, 1963
10 “Phi Beta Sigma Sigma Organized in 1914”
10 Advertisement The Informer and Texas Freeman
10 Advertisement The Reporter
10 Advertisement
10 Article on Boy Scouts Houston Forward Times November 9, 1963
10 “Clifford Smith Installed as ABC President” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report January 14, 1977
10 “He Made It on His Own: Smith Seeks Young Blacks to Follow as Electricians” Houston Chronicle July 27, 1977
10 Advertisement Gulf Coast Baptist October 13, 1949
10 “Snappy Grill, Bar Opens at 910 Prairie” Houston Press February 1952
10 Advertisement Houston Forward Times April 11, 1964
10 Advertisement The Greater Fifth Ward Citizen March 14, 1952
10 Photograph of C. F. Smith employees with trucks Houston Informer April 8, 1950
10 Advertisement Houston Times December 18, 1953
10 Excerpt from Standard Oil of Indiana 1975 Annual Report
10 “Houston-Tuskegee Alumni Club Gives Services Award” Houston Forward Times June 14, 1975
10 Advertisement The Informer and Texas Freeman December 21, 1968
10 “If You Want to Make Money. . .” Houston Post March 4, 1968
10 “So Many Brainwashed, Says C. F. Smith” Houston Post March 1968 [est.]
10 Untitled newsletter National Newspaper, published by Associated General Contractors of America July 21, 1967
10 “Colo. Builders Discusses Boycott”
10 “Spotlight 1977 Installation” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report January 21, 1977
10 “The C. F. Smith Story” Houston Informer August 24, 1963
10 Photographs and captions of C. F. Smith being installed as president of ABC of Greater Houston January 1977 [est.]
10 “Secondary Boycott Conference Held in Denver” 1966
10 “Black Man is President of 400-Member Builders Group” 1977 [est.]
10 “Leaders Determine Where We Are Led” The Tribune June 23, 1977
10 Advertisement Houston Informer January 30, 1954
10 Advertisement The Houston Sportsman February 23, 1956
10 “Houston Man is Honored by Tuskegee” Houston Chronicle June 8, 1958
10 “Receives Award”
10 “Houstonian to Get Tuskegee Award” Houston Press May 24, 1958
10 “Electricians Organize Associated Electricians Inc” Houston Informer July 28, 1956
10 “Mr. and Mrs. Burnett Ross Invite Friends to Open House at New Home” Houston Informer February 4, 1961
10 Photographs ABC Merit Shop Construction Report August 19, 1977
10 Photographs ABC Merit Shop Construction Report November 25, 1977
10 “Smith Appointed to T.E.C. Employers Advisory Council” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report September 2, 1977
10 Photograph ABC Merit Shop Construction Report Spring 1979
10 Advertisement The Reporter June 7, 1952
10 Advertisements Houston Informer December 26, 1964
10 “Skill a Must for Success Says C. F. Smith” November 1949
10 “Business Leaders to Speak for 24th Annual Convention” Houston Informer August 6, 1960
10 Advertisements
10 “‘Scout O-Rama’ to be Staged at Coliseum Wed.” Houston Informer March 10, 1953
10 Advertisement Houston Informer March 10, 1953
10 “Reflections: May 10th Membership Meeting” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report May 20, 1977
10 “Only the Strong Survive” Texas Monthly February 1979
10 “Smith Reflects on 1977” ABC Merit Shop Construction Report January 6, 1978
10 “Installation Dinner Huge Success”; photographs ABC Merit Shop Construction Report January 12, 1978



Box Photograph
1 MSS 249.1-22 Various black and white undated photographs