Tuesday, April 2, 2013
City wants to rename street after legendary pastor Rev. C.B.T. Smith
City officials are proposing to rename Sabine Street, where Rev. Smith's Baptist church stands.
The Rev. Clarence Booker Taliaferro Smith was pastor at Oak Cliff’s Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church from 1952 till his retirement in ’97, and when he died of a heart attack in June 2009 at the age of 93, his funeral, which featured a horse-drawn hearse, drew hundreds, among them many pastors influenced by the man better known as C.B.T. “He’s nationally known in his circle,” the Rev. Vincent Parker told our Joe Simnacher in ’09, “He’s just huge.”
And now the Rev. C.B.T. Smith will likely have a street named for him, according to the city’s Subdivision Review Committee agenda for Thursday.
City officials are proposing to rename Sabine Street, between Eads Street and N. Denley Drive in east Oak Cliff, for the reverend. It’s only fitting: That’s the stretch of Sabine that runs past Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church. City staff recommends approving the change.
It’s not hard to find clips of Smith in action: There’s a YouTube page filled with his sermons, some dating back more than 20 years.
In a 2005 Dallas Morning News profile of Smith, our Michael Young began …
Even at 89, the Rev. C.B.T. Smith burns with the Gospel fire.
“I don’t think it ever goes out,” he said, “so I can’t see myself not preaching. I want to preach as long as I’m able.”
It’s been that way for almost 70 years, since he lay down for a nap after a hard day’s work and instead experienced a vision so powerful it left him shaking. In it, a pair of hands reached down from heaven, gripped young Clarence Booker Taliaferro Smith by the shoulders and lifted him up from a group of friends.
“Come out from among them,” a voice commanded. “I want to use you.”
He’s done the Lord’s work ever since, he said.
Years earlier, in 1984, Ebony magazine ran a piece about the 15 most influential preachers in America. One letter-writer from here took issue with how incomplete it was: “I cannot imagine anyone talking to any person in Dallas about great preachers without the Rev. C.B.T. Smith’s name being mentioned,” wrote J.B. Brown. “He should have at least gotten an honorable mention.”
At least he’s this much closer to having his own street.
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