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Daniel Smith, One Of Last People Born To An Enslaved Parent, Dies At 90

His father was born in the 1860s.

Daniel Smith, a civil rights activist and one of the last people born to an enslaved parent, passed away at 90 years old. Loretta Neumann, his wife of 16 years, confirmed to The Washington Post that her husband died of cancer and congestive heart failure on Wednesday, October 19.

CBS News reports Smith was born in Connecticut in March 1932. His father, Abram Smith, was 70 years old when he was born and formerly enslaved in Virginia. Abram Smith was born around 1862. Slavery was abolished in 1865. His mother, Clara Smith, was 23 years old when he was born. When Smith was 6 years old, his father died in a car accident.

In February, Smith told CBS Mornings, "We need more kindness. And I look back, in terms of my crazy life, and I think it all came from my father saying, 'Do good things. Do good things.'"

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He also reflected on voting for Barack Obama in 2008, "When I voted for [Barack] Obama, I was shaking. I couldn't believe I was doing this. A Black man? No, we've made a lot of progress." He also added, “We cannot continue as a nation with people hating each other."

Smith was a longtime activist. The Washington Post reports Smith met the late John Lewis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and also participated in the 1963 March on Washington, marched from Selma to Montgomery and served as an Army medic during the Korean War. Smith was also working on a memoir titled Son of a Slave: A Black Man's Journey in White America. It’s unknown when the book will be released.

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