September 10, 2018—Oakland-based chiropractor Dr. Willard Smith (right) received the 2018 Service to Humanity Award at The WAVE conference, held at the Oakland Convention Center in August. This honor was bestowed on Dr. Smith for his perseverance and breakthrough of representation of African-Americans in the chiropractic profession.
Dr. Smith, 92, served in many professional and civic organizations such as the California Chiropractic Association (CCA), the Alameda County Chiropractic Society, and he was appointed by then-Governor of California Edmond G. Brown Jr. to the State Board of Examiners in 1976 and served for eight years.
Life Chiropractic College West President Dr. Ron Oberstein (left) acknowledged Dr. Smith’s advancement of diversity in the chiropractic community.
“Along with chiropractic, Dr. Smith was active locally, serving in local boards, churches, and in the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. He is the first African-American elected to head a major chiropractic association in the CCA back in 1990,” Dr. Oberstein said. “His contribution to our profession in the state of California and in the patients he served for over five decades in unparalleled.”
Dr. Smith was in the audience, along with his wife and son, for the presentation of his award. Phillip Smith said he was proud to accept the award on his behalf after he joined Dr. Oberstein on stage.
He said, “My dad is a leader. He has given me advice, and I hope that your organization, you’re incentivized to go out and do good work and do what my father has done.”
The younger Mr. Smith also said, “To be a black man who came along in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, and to get appointed to the board and become the first to be elected twice as president of the Board Association is a huge accomplishment, and I am proud to say that this guy is my dad.”
Dr. Smith was born in Shreveport, La., and then moved to Oakland at the age of 17. Soon after he fought in World War II for two years. Dr. Smith and his wife, Edna Smith, have been married for 28 years and live in Oakland.
Source: Life West