James Skivring Smith
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|James Skivring Smith|
|6th President of Liberia|
November 4, 1871 – January 1, 1872
|Preceded by||Edward James Roye|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Jenkins Roberts|
|8th Vice President of Liberia|
January 3, 1870 – October 26, 1871
|President||Edward James Roye|
|Preceded by||Joseph Gibson|
|Succeeded by||Anthony W. Gardiner|
|4th Secretary of State|
|President||Stephen Allen Benson|
|Preceded by||Daniel Bashiel Warner|
|Succeeded by||Edward Wilmot Blyden|
|Born||February 26, 1825
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
|Political party||True Whig|
|Alma mater||Berkshire Medical Center|
James Skivring Smith (February 26, 1825 – c. 1892) served as the 6th President of Liberia from 1871 to 1872. Prior to this, he served as the 8th Vice President of Liberia from 1870 to 1871 under President Edward James Roye and as Secretary of State from 1856 to 1860 in the cabinet of President Stephen Allen Benson.
Smith was born in Charleston, South Carolina on February 26, 1825, the fourth of seven children of free blacks Carlos and Catharine Smith. He and his family arrived in Liberia in 1833, and his parents died of malaria within one year of their arrival. After working with a white doctor of the American Colonization Society, Smith returned to the United States to study medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He transferred to the Berkshire Medical College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, from which he received his medical degree in 1848. Smith was the first African American to receive a medical degree. He then returned to the newly independent Liberia, working for the ACS as a doctor.
Smith served as Secretary of State from 1856 to 1860 and was later elected as a senator from Grand Bassa County from 1868 to 1870. In the 1869 presidential election, Smith was elected vice president under President Edward James Roye. The two were the first True Whig politicians to hold their respective offices. On October 26, 1871, President Roye was forcibly removed from office after unconstitutionally extending his term, leading Smith to serve the remaining two months of Roye's term as president. Smith's tenure as president remains the shortest in Liberian history. After stepping down as president, Smith returned to Buchanan and served as Superintendent of Grand Bassa County from 1874 to 1884.
- Brown, Alphonso (2008). A Gullah Guide to Charleston: Walking Through Black History. The History Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-59629-392-2.
- Library of Congress website
James M. Priest
|Vice President of Liberia
Anthony W. Gardiner
Edward James Roye
|President of Liberia
Joseph Jenkins Roberts
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