From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Britton, Arthur Eugene and Lillian Smith

Arthur Britton (b.1875 in Kentucky), was African American, Crow, and Cherokee. He grew up near Maysville and had attended college in Louisville (probably Simmons) before moving to Chicago, where he worked as a clerk in a manufacturing company. He was there during the "Red Summer" of 1919. He and his wife, Lillian Smith (b.1882 in Kentucky), were the parents of four children, the youngest being Irene Britton Smith (1907-1999), a noted composer and school teacher in Chicago. Arthur and Lillian Britton separated in 1917. For more see H. Walker-Hill, "Black women composers in Chicago: then and now," Black Music Research Journal, vol. 12, issue 1, (Spring, 1992), pp. 13-14; Funeral program for Irene Britton Smith, Chicago: Griffin Funeral Home, 02/18/1999, vertical file at the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago; Black Women in America, 2nd ed., by D. C. Hine; and From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American women composers and their music, by H. Walker-Hill.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Simmons College (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: Black music research journal (periodical)
NKAA Source: Black women in America 2nd ed.
NKAA Source: From spirituals to symphonies: African-American women composers and their music

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“Britton, Arthur Eugene and Lillian Smith,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed February 15, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:37