The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 394
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
City in 1932. In January, 1933, he came to Dallas to organize a life
insurance company. There he rejuvenated the Negro Chamber of
Commerce and played a major role in obtaining and directing Negro
participation in the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. By 1936
he had become secretary of the Dallas NAACP branch and the Pro-
gressive Voters League. Through these activities he developed ties with
key Negro leaders in Dallas and other cities. Increasingly, he thought
in terms of statewide organizations. From Smith's discussions with other
black leaders on matters relating to the Texas Centennial, the Negro
Chamber of Commerce and the Progressive Voters League came their
decision to organize the State Conference of NAACP Branches.3
They received encouragement from the NAACP national office,
which had promoted the establishment of a state conference since 1935.
In that year publisher Roscoe Dunjee, president of the Oklahoma State
Conference, and NAACP field secretary William Pickens had toured
Texas to stimulate branches and to recommend the formation of a state
conference.4 When NAACP field worker Juanita Jackson came in
March, 1937, to reorganize the Houston and Dallas chapters, she also
suggested establishing a state conference "in order to give the branches
something to work towards." She discussed the matter with Waco at-
torney Richard D. Evans, who told of his plans to tour the state, organ-
izing committees and planning for the Conference. Jackson asked
Walter White, NAACP secretary, to write several officers of Texas
branches, suggesting plans for the Conference and indicating which
member of the national staff would be present. "Urge them to make
preparations at once," she added, and "to get their delegates in line."
On June 1, 1937, Maceo Smith, described by Jackson as the "dynamo
behind the Dallas branch," asked the national office for supplies that
"will enable us to organize new branches and spread the work of the
organization throughout the State." Later that week, Evans issued a
call to all Texas branches to attend the Conference and to plan a united
approach to the many Texas problems. To Roscoe Dunjee, it appeared
that "Evans has at last awakened."5
3A biographical sketch of Smith appears in the Texas State Conference, Twentieth
Anniversary Souvenir Booklet (1956); A. Maceo Smith to M. L. G., March 23, July 21,
1973; February 15, 1975, interviews; Dallas Express, April 4, 1936; December 3, 1938; In-
former (Houston), January 18, 1941; Marshall to White, April 8, 1939, NAACP Papers,
Box G-2o1; Jesse O. Thomas, Negro Participation in the Texas Centennial Exposition (Bos-
ton, 1938); Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1973.
4lnformer (Houston), October 5, 1935.
5Jackson to White, April 22, 1937 (first, second, third, and fourth quotations); Roscoe
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/450/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.