Smith recounted how the Navy Yard brought in hundreds of new workers to service the ships and churn out munitions for the war effort. A neighborhood church became a recruiting station for U.S. Colored Troop #1, and the largest temporary hospital in the city was built near the site of present-day Lincoln Park, treating thousands of wounded soldiers.
Professor Smith is a third-generation Washingtonian and the Director of American Studies at AU, where he taught since 1969. He's also achieved a wide following as a Civil War, African-American cultural heritage and art history lecturer and study tour leader for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the National Park Service and the D.C. Historical Society.