Smith, Gerald Lyman Kenneth

   Gerald Smith was born in Wisconsin and graduated from Valparaiso University in 1917. He attended Butler University in Indiana, where he became active in the Ku Klux Klan. In 1928, he moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, and in 1928 became a church minister. In 1930, he was appointed as assistant to Huey Long and was the organizer of the national Share Our Wealth clubs. Smith assumed leadership of the clubs following Long’s assassination in 1935. In 1936, he joined with Francis Townsend and Father Charles Coughlin to form the Union Party. In 1936, Smith also began to echo the German Nazi movement and called on young American men to seize the government. He was expelled from the Union Party in 1936 because of his extreme views. He campaigned against U.S. entry into World War II and organized the America First Party in 1942, publishing a right-wing journal, The Cross and the Flag. He ran as presidential candidate for the America First Party in 1944 and attracted a mere 1,781 votes. In 1947, he called for a Christian Nationalist Crusade and attacked Jews, denying the Holocaust and calling for the deportation of African Americans to Africa and the dissolution of United Nations. In the 1948 election, he received 48 votes. Smith established a center in Los Angeles, California, in 1953 but in 1964 moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In 1966 he erected a huge statue of Jesus, Christ of the Ozarks, on a nearby mountain and organized a regular passion play and established a Bible museum.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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