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

Smith, Effie Waller

(born: 1879  -  died: 1960) 

Effie Waller Smith was born in Pike County, KY, the daughter of Sibbie and Frank Waller, a blacksmith. Smith earned her teaching certificate at Kentucky Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]. She was a school teacher in Pike County and was certified by Superintendent Perry A. Cline in the early 1890s. Effie W. Smith was well-read in classical literature, she published three books of poetry, and her poems also appeared in literary magazines. She stopped publishing her work in 1917 at the age of 38. Her husband, Deputy Sheriff Charles Smith, had been killed in 1911 while serving a warrant, they were married two years. Effie W. Smith left Kentucky for Wisconsin in 1918 and is buried in the city of Neenah. A Kentucky Historical Marker [#1959] was placed at the police department in Pikeville in honor of Effie Waller Smith. For more see The Collected Works of Effie Waller Smith; Effie W. Smith in Kentucky Women, by E. K. Potter; Effie W. Smith in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; "State honors Black poet...," Lexington Herald Leader, 12/11/01, p. B3; "Effie Waller Smith: An Echo Within the Hills," The Kentucky Review, Vol. 8, issue 3 (Autumn 1988), pp. 26-46; and W. R. Cummings, "History of the Perry A. Cline High School," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 9, no. 1-2 (Oct.-Nov. 1938), p. 49. See photo image and bio of Effie Waller Smith on pp. 131-132 in The Negro in Revelation, in History, and in Citizenship, by J. J. Pipkin.


  See the YouTube video AAHIAH Episode #19: "The Life & Poetry of Effie Waller Smith." [AAHIAH=African American History is American History]


Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Smith, Effie Waller,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:27