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

Smith, Verna McDonald

(born: March 18, 1889  -  died: June 23, 1966) 

Verna McDonald Smith was the first African American woman president of the Democratic Club. She also served as an alternate delegate to the 1944 Democratic Presidential Convention. She served as president of the National Housewives League of America (NHLA). The NHLA was established in 1933 and was made up of local groups. The goal was to encourage African American housewives to patronize African American businesses to advance the economic status of African Americans overall. The records for the NHLA and the Detroit League are housed at the University of Michigan.

Verna M. Smith was born in Lyons, IN, the daughter of Ida Burk and Charles McDonald [source: Indiana Marriage Index, Ancestry]. Her father, Charles McDonald, was from Shepherdsville, KY. She was the wife of James E. Smith and mother of Charlotte McGill.

From 1916-1918, Verna M. Smith was a stenographer and bookkeeper with the Standard Life Insurance Company in Louisville [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville]. She had had two years of college. Wilson S. Lovett was the director of the Standard Life Insurance Company. By 1930, Verna M. Smith was a salesperson in a Louisville corset store [source: 1930 U.S. Census]. Her husband, James E. Smith, would become vice president of the Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Company that he established with Green P. Hughes.

For more see the Smith/McGill Family Papers, 1879-1987 and Photographs of Verna Smith and Unknown Others, undated at the University of Louisville Libraries: Special Collections and Archives.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bullitt County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Shepherdsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Lovett, Wilson Stephen
NKAA Entry: Hughes, Green Percy
NKAA Entry: McGill, Charlotte Edna Smith
NKAA Entry: Smith, James E. "J.E."
NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Louisville (annual)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Smith, Verna McDonald,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed February 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-22 18:28:15