Black Tulsa Business Leader and Husband Dead

BIXBY—A Black business leader and community activist, who joined Tulsa civic leaders in fighting then-President Donald J. Trump’s plan to hold a campaign rally on Juneteenth in a city known as the site of one of the nation’s deadliest white-on-Black mob attacks, has been killed in what police described as a domestic incident at her and her husband’s home.
Investigators were trying Thursday to develop a timeline that led to Sherry Gamble Smith and her husband, Martin Everett Smith, being fatally wounded in their home in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby.
Police were dispatched at about 8 a.m. on July 6 on a call regarding a death and went to the Smith home.
They found Mrs. Smith dead and her husband wounded.
Mr. Smith died later at a hospital.
A Bixby Police Department statement said Mrs. Smith’s death appeared to be a domestic incident, and said the investigation is still underway to determine the timeline and what led to “this tragedy.”
Mrs. Smith was president of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce, named after Tulsa’s Greenwood commercial district — an area of concentrated Black wealth — that white rioters burned in 1921.
Up to 300 Black Tulsa residents were killed, and the area never recovered.
She was vocal in her opposition to then- President Trump’s plans to hold his first campaign rally of the COVID era there on Juneteenth celebrations.
“To choose the date to come to Tulsa is totally disrespectful and a slap in the face to even happen,” she said before the Trump campaign postponed the event by a day.
The campaign event was met with protests during a time of nationwide protests just weeks after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd.
Community leaders expressed shock and sadness over Mrs. Smith’s death.
Rev. Jamaal Dyer, pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, told reporters that her death left him “broken….shattered.”
“I have so many questions and I’m really….really…. at a loss for words.”
“This is a huge…. Huge…. loss for our community,” he added.
Longtime friend Phil Armstrong, a member of the group, Greenwood Rising, told reporters that Mrs. Smith was the force behind this year’s Juneteenth Day celebrations.
“When you hear the phrase, ‘the passing of the torch’ from the older generation to the younger generation, that’s a reference to Sherry Gamble Smith,” Mr. Armstrong commented.
“She was that person of the younger generation who took ‘the torch’ of leadership.”

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