Charleston activists will remember Mary Smith as a relentless advocate on Friday

"She was a force"

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Smith (right), pictured at a community meeting discussing Eastside crime on Fri. Sept. 27 - THOMAS DIXON
  • Thomas Dixon
  • Smith (right), pictured at a community meeting discussing Eastside crime on Fri. Sept. 27
Activists in Charleston will gather on Friday afternoon to remember the life and work of Mary Smith, who died on Sept. 29 2019, according to an obituary in the Post and Courier.

Friends, family, and colleagues will gather at the monument to Denmark Vesey in Hampton Park downtown on Friday Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Vesey was an enslaved man in Charleston who bought his own freedom after winning a lottery and owned a carpentry business as a free man, but was later hanged after being accused of a plot to free other enslaved people around the Charleston area.

After the downtown vigil, friends will move to the N. Charleston Community Resource Center at 3947 Whipper Barony Ln., "for potluck, drumming, and sharing memories of our beloved Mary," according to a Facebook event.



Smith, who also went by Mary Baraghání, was active in the Black Lives Matter movement and was an advocate for hourly workers, transportation infrastructure, gun law reform, and countless other causes.

Thomas Dixon, a community leader and fixture in the local activism community, says he met Smith when she was working on Clifford Smith's campaign to become North Charleston mayor in 2015.

Smith took an active role in local social justice causes - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Smith took an active role in local social justice causes
"I know from the moment I met her, it seemed like everything we had going on, she was there," Dixon said in an interview on Friday.

"She's just an amazing person when it came to her level of social justice activism," says Dixon, describing her work. "[She] went to jail a couple times for it last year in Columbia."

Smith's devotion was made all the more admirable in light of the fact that she also suffered a chronic illness that would cause her pain, Dixon says. "But you could never tell that she was going through anything."

"It was always refreshing to see her, no matter where we were, standing up for justice, no matter what the cause. And not just passively standing up for what's right, and for the rights of others, but active, engaged, and ready to go the extra mile," Dixon says.

Friday's gathering place is the same location of a vigil for Muhiyidin d'Baha in February, another local activist who was close to Smith, held a year after he was shot and killed in New Orleans during a robbery. Smith described her activism for racial equality to the City Paper earlier this year, saying, "I thought, 'OK, I have friends in this movement, I'm not going to make it all about myself, I'm just going to support them and support this agenda.' I think that's what a lot of people struggle with when it comes to activism."

"She was a force, man," Dixon says. "She latched onto the movement and wouldn't let go."

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