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Demetrius Smith

     On October 27, 1972 at 9:09 P.M., Demetrius Maurice Smith was born in Fort Benning, Georgia to the parentage of Wallace Edward Smith and Cynthia Yvonne Carter-Smith weighing seven pounds and seven ounces. Although they were teenage parents, Wallace and Cynthia were determined to provide a loving and caring upbringing for their son. Wallace entered the army after their marriage and during Cynthia’s pregnancy and therefore was not able to be present at Demetrius’ birth. Yet, the maternal and paternal grandparents along with a host of aunts, uncles and close friends were all available to serve as a support for the young mother. News of Demetrius’ arrival spread throughout their hometown of Butler, Georgia like the recent 2004 California wildfires; with unrelenting fury.


     The Carter household was swamped with visitors and the sound of the phone ringing as everyone wanted to know when they could come see the newest arrival to the Carter/Smith Clan. Although Cynthia wanted to name him Jeremiah, her sons’ name would be given to him by friends and family. Cynthia’s best friend, Vickii Works gave her the name Demetrius which she found in the Bible. In the New Testament (NIV), 3 John 12 states “Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone - even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.” His great Aunt Rozene Carter Beagles (sister of Naomi Carter) gave him the middle name Maurice. Thus the cute, cuddly, bouncing baby boy was dubbed Demetrius Maurice Smith.


      Demetrius grew up living with his mother, Aunt Gwendolyn, Uncle Calvin and grandparents, MSG Reginald and Naomi Carter in Butler , Georgia . He was very well known for his jovial attitude and love for singing and dancing. Many evenings were spent during his youth singing at the Carter’s Café to tunes of Marvin Gaye (his mother’s favorite artist) and Natalie Cole. Since his father’s mother only lived three houses away from the Carters‘, many days saw the two grandmothers waving at each other as Demetrius scurried up the ditch from one to the other. At the age of seven, he joined the Second Tazewell Baptist Church of Butler, Georgia were he was an active and dedicated member of the Sunday School, Usher Board, Children’s Choir and anything else that would bring him closer in his connection to the Lord. It was also during these early years that Demetrius watched his mother attend Fort Valley State College and pledge Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


     The process of matriculating through college was arduous enough for the now single parent but pledging proved to be even more of a task. Demetrius even remembers Cynthia “fibbing” to her big sisters during Easter weekend that Demetrius had choked on an Easter Egg and she had to rush home to Butler . Needless to say, Demetrius was fine although there were many times that his Great Aunt Rozene did have to put her hand down his throat to keep him from choking on candy. After all, he was the first grandchild in the Carter household and therefore was spoiled beyond disbelief -- meaning he got anything he asked for including ALL candy that he set his eyes or hands on. There are still the occasional stories told of how he broke up all kinds of beautiful artifacts which his grandparents had collected during their travels in the military. Demetrius had definitely set a standard that would not be able to be upheld by his cousins, Katrina Carter and Larone Wonnum.


     The adolescent years of Demetrius life may seem somewhat uneventful to some but to Demetrius they were some of the best years of his life. Therefore, the following will be an endeavor at telling about a few of those events. In the summer of 1980, Demetrius moved to Montezuma , Georgia with his mother, who had recently graduated from Fort Valley State College and been hired at the Proctor & Gamble Corporation in Oglethorpe , Georgia . Entering the second grade in Macon County , Georgia in a school where no one knew who he or his grandparents were or even bothered to find out, Demetrius used his knack at making new friends to his advantage. Before long, he had tons of friends and only had one fight during his primary and elementary school years. A girl in his apartment complex wanted him to kiss her and he refused because she was not the cutest of the bunch. So, she burst a hole in her bicycle tire and told her big brother that Demetrius had done it. Needless to say, after running for his life from a teenager and making it to his house, Demetrius was determined that would be his last time running from a fight. And it was… In the 3rd grade and on the last day of school, Demetrius missed his bus and thus walked home. His mother, not knowing where he was since he had not arrived at the babysitter, gave him a “butt whipping” upon arriving home that caused her to cry more than he did. This would be his last whipping EVER. Yeap! The third grade was his last whipping. And who could ever forget the fourth grade, Demetrius got a curly kit. Well it was suppose to be a curly kit. Cynthia’s brother, Calvin had a female friend of his put the chemicals in Demetrius’ head and between the lack of reading directions and flirting with Calvin, the curl that she put in only lasted one day. Demetrius went to bed with curl activator and his plastic cap on, only to wake up with an Afro for his school picture. And how could anyone forget the time when Demetrius cut his leg open on old gas tank pipe in a neighbors yard. Packed and ready to go stay the summer with his Uncle Reginald, Jr. in Fort Bragg , North Carolina , Demetrius snuck off to play with his friends before departure. Needless to say, the trip to North Carolina never happened due to his accident.


      The ride to Thomaston, Georgia to the hospital with Aunt Gwendolyn, Grandmother Naomi and little cousin, Larone, was one that Demetrius will never forget. Larone was a mere 4 years old or so but had enough love for his cousin to wipe his tears and tell him that it was going to be alright. Arriving at the emergency room, Grandmother Naomi held Demetrius’ hand while the doctor and nurses examined him. Yet, at the first sight of the needle that would be plunged into the gaping hole to deaden the area before they could stitch it up, Naomi ran from the room. Therefore, Aunt Gwendolyn had to hold his hand through the procedure, which she said must have hurt tremendously cause Demetrius squeezed her hand so hard that she thought she was getting sown up. It was also during these years in 1983, that at the age of 10, Demetrius flew to Frankfurt , Germany to visit his father. The ten hour flight was long and scary for the “kuntry” boy from Georgia . However, Demetrius’ knack for making friends paid off, as he made friends with several other kids on their way home to Germany from visiting relatives in the United States. They spoke German fluently and thus were a Godsend for him. This was at the height of the Cold War so German soldiers with machine guns, AK 47 to be exact, and German shepherds were patrolling the airport. Demetrius was so elated to finally make it through several checkpoints and see his father waiting for him. This trip to Europe was very memorable for the ten year old. It was not often that a ten year old boy can walk through the park and witness people casually laying out sunbathing in the nude. The German culture saw human nudity as fine and this was mind boggling for Demetrius but this did not stop him from wanting to go for walks in the park everyday. He had begun “to spell himself” in the words of his Grandmother Naomi. Whatever it was, Demetrius like what he was smelling and spent many afternoons playing in the park with new found friends, who were also “army brats” and occasionally taking a peek or two at the naked sunbathers.


      Upon entering junior high school in 1984, Demetrius tried out for the basketball team but did not make it as a 6th grader. Yet, he was determined that next year he would not be defeated. Demetrius the summer after sixth grade playing basketball every chance he got. When the time for team try-outs came along, Demetrius was so rearing to go that he outdid some of the eighth graders. Demetrius was the first person in the junior or high school to get the Michael Air Jordan basketball shoes in 1986, which at that time cost $86 plus tax. He was an instant celebrity. During his eighth grade year, Cynthia spoiled his biggest athletic showing. It was the annual Christmas tournament at Macon County Junior High School . Surrounding counties, including Taylor County , were there to try to take home the title. Demetrius knew he would be up against stiff competition since he regularly played against most of the guys from Taylor County every weekend when he visited his grandparents. After scoring a season high nine points, Demetrius was going up for a lay up and double figures, when one of the players from Taylor County ’s teeth some kind of a way, hit him above his eye. Blood was gushing out a little too much for Cynthia, she rushed the court and the game had to be stopped. Needless to say, Demetrius friends did not let him live down his mother’s frantic run onto the court screaming, “Time out! Time out! My baby is bleeding…”. It was also during his eighth grade year that Demetrius asked two females to go to Junior High Prom and they both agreed. Being the suave and debonair guy that he was, he opted to bring his mother instead to alleviate hurting either young ladies feelings. Not to mention, he was trying to be a “MACK” and still took turns dancing with both young ladies during the night. During the summer of 1986, Demetrius journeyed to Hartford, Connecticut to stay the summer with Cousin Thelma “Tip” Walton and her family. Cousin Thelma’s home was a huge three story home with an elevator in it on Love Lane in Hartford , Connecticut . Although the elevator was not operable, it still existed. Demetrius spent the summer learning the city of Hartford with his favorite cousins, Stanley and Junior. This was during the years when many people were being killed in the nearby Keeney Park but this did not scare the trio off from playing basketball their almost everyday.


     There was also the times he enjoyed hanging out with Charlene, La, Cretia, even though they were female cousins. Demetrius still stays in contact with a few of these relatives via email. And how could Demetrius ever forget Great Uncle Loverture’s visit to Cousin Thelma’s house during Demetrius summer vacation. Great Uncle Loverture took Demetrius all over the city and there was not ONE street that was not traveled that he did not know someone walking or living in the area by name. And he definitely has never met a stranger. These long talks and drives during his summer visits would be the start of a great connection which ultimately lead to Demetrius following in his great uncles footsteps and becoming a member of the Prince Hall Masonic family. As a matter of fact, Demetrius loves to dress up due to the dapper dress of his great uncle Loverture, who is always dressed like a million bucks. It is definitely true that a family that prays together, stays together. This is evident because even years later, Demetrius always makes it his business to find Love Lane every time he journeys to Connecticut and some of the Walton Clan is still residing there. And he is always welcomed with opens arms and a big “ole” kiss from Cousin Peola Walton Kerr, daughter of Thelma “Tip” Walton.


     In 1987, Demetrius graduated from Macon County Junior High School with Honors to head to high school. Finally in high school, Demetrius set his sights on continuing to prepare to become an attorney, or so he dreamed of doing. Throughout his life, Demetrius always told his mother that he wanted to become a lawyer and be the first black District Attorney in Macon County , Georgia history. He continued playing basketball, along with his involvement in Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and many other organizations. Academically, he was named to “Who’s Who Among American High School Students” in 10th, 11th and 12th grade. It was during high school that Demetrius found TRUE love for the first time. Although Demetrius had many girlfriends over the years and just knew he was in love each time, his senior year was his first encounter with real love. On Thursday, May 9, 1991 at 3:45:53 P.M. while preparing to attend the prom the next day, Demetrius asked Shannon Wynette Golphin to be his girlfriend. It was such a hot day and not to mention, Shannon ’s best friend, Lavonia Hayes’ Ford LTD’s air conditioning only cooled the front of the car so they were all three squeezed on the front seat.

Yet, Shannon took him up on his offer after a few minutes of whispering to her best friend.


      This would be the start of a friendship and love affair that has lasted for the past thirteen years. It is very apparent that Demetrius’ childhood was rather common to most but to him, it was the stuff that dreams where made of and filled with many loving role models who came in the form of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and neighbors. Demetrius is a true testament to the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child…” Now the village can sit back and relax as they watch the great African American male, father, brother, cousin and friend that Demetrius Maurice Smith has become.


     Demetrius is married to the Shannon Wynette Golphin-Smith and they are the parents of two sons, Tyler DeMarcus Smith, 6 and Colby Dion Smith, 4. Presently, Demetrius and his family are residing in Valdosta , Georgia , where his wife, Shannon is completing her Masters of Education at Valdosta State University . Due to the fact that beside every great man is a great woman, Demetrius has chosen to be a stay home father to support his wife while she works to complete her Masters. His future aspiration is to begin his quest for his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration in the Fall of 2004 at The University of Florida in Gainesville.


     "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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