About S.M. Wright II
At the young age of 18 S.M. Wright became the Sr. Pastor of his father’s church, the People’s Missionary Baptist Church. In the midst of a mass member exodus and financial troubles Wright went to local Dallas business leaders and made the case for why his ministry was so vital and sought out their guidance. At the urging of John Stemmons, S.M. founded the S.M. Wright Foundation. Today the Foundation serves thousands of underprivileged children and families through programs such as Christmas in the Park and Beds for Kids. S.M. II has continued his father’s legacy of civic and ministerial leadership. S.M. is widely respected as a community leader amongst elected officials, business leaders and other non-profits.
It was such an honor to sit down with this Titan and hear the story of growing up learning at the knee of his father S.M. Wright Sr., a leader during the civil rights era and one of Dallas’s most influential leaders. Please enjoy this interview with my friend S.M. Wright II.
About S.M. Wright
S.M. Wright was born in Dallas on February 7, 1927 to the Reverend Calvin and Mary Wright. He grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Dallas, the Bon Ton community. As a child, he was determined to “be somebody” so he focused on his education, graduating from Lincoln High School and earning a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He later earned a master’s and doctorate degree from Bishop College.
Dr. Wright became the pastor of the People’s Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas in 1957. A natural leader, he served as advisor to elected officials, businessmen, and civic leaders. He was known for his ability to unite ethnic groups peacefully. During the turbulent 1960s, Dr. Wright worked with city leaders to foster integration in education, employment, and political representation as well as in restaurants, hotels, shops, and swimming pools. He died on November 3, 1994. To honor his legacy, then Governor George W. Bush changed the name of Highway 175 to the S.M. Wright Freeway in 1995.