William “Duke” Smither is the author of “Backroads to ‘Bethlehem’: Odysseys of the Maroon Warrior, in the Shadows of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” and “Passage(s) to Saint-Domingue: Jakobe’s Journey, Overture to the Gathering of Vultures.” 

A Frankfort Kentucky native and Richmond Virginia resident, he’s also a retired Public Utility Investigator and Nuclear site worker; Married w/ 3 children and 6 grandchildren; U.S. Navy Veteran: Radarman 2nd Class, Vietnam Era & Cuban Missile Crisis Veteran, Shipboard Combat Information Center Supervisor, Member of “Cuban Blockade Survivors,” and the American Legion (also, Lifetime Member of Together We Served, veteran’s community).

Retirement activities include playwright, actor and director of several faith-based and community-oriented drama productions; member of local gospel chorus; founder of “Backstreet’s Blog” [aka, “Talking Drum Dialogues”] at www.backstreetdjeli.com, and former contributing writer for “BlackPast.Org,” the international, on-line reference center for African American History. On occasion, performed dramatic storytelling monologues, to share the many ‘Missing Pages’ from classroom history books, addressing the unique stories, legacies, and contributions of our ancestors.”

His debut novel “Backroads to ‘Bethlehem’…” was the first installment of a planned historical-fiction trilogy on Western Hemispheric marronage and resistance. The second installment, “Passage(s) to Saint-Domingue,” was published on December 30, 2021. A third, “The Swamp…” [working title only] is pending manuscript completion.

His interest in writing was piqued early on, with selection as Frankfort High School’s (KY) newspaper Sports Editor. Following military service, and overseas deployments, he became Virginia Commonwealth University’s ‘Postscript’ Newspaper’s Sports Reporter while married as a Freshman Journalism student (1968) and, simultaneously, a reporter trainee for the now-defunct Richmond Afro-American Newspaper; he later switched to business studies and VCU’s Evening College, all the while with independent studies and research outside the classroom. during his 28-year public utility career at Dominion Energy (VA), he continued business studies, graduating from Saint Paul’s College Continuing Education Program (B.S. Degree), in 1993, followed by additional independent studies and research in Ancient African History, while undertaking post-graduate studies, in Criminal Justice Administration at VCU, amid expanding career challenges as Sr. Investigator at Dominion Energy (and related Homeland Security liaison duties), in the wake of the ‘911’ (09-11-2001) terrorists attacks on the United States; he retired eight years later.

Katherine Goble Johnson (1918-2020)
Katherine Goble Johnson, heralded as the first…
Read More

George Cleveland Hall (1864-1930)
Dr. George Cleveland Hall, Chicago…
Read More

Raymond Harold/ “Ray” Boone Sr. (1938-2014)
Prominent Virginia journalist Ray Boone Sr…
Read More

Robert L. Woodson Sr. (1937– )
Born into poverty on April 8, 1937, in South…
Read More

John Robert Thompson Jr. (1941-2020)
Born in Washington, D.C. on September 2…
Read More

John Wendell Thompson (1949– )
“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Born…
Read More

The Bordentown School (1886-1955)
The “Bordentown School,” founded in 1886…
Read More

Thomas Fuller (1710-1790)
Thomas Fuller, often called “the Virginia…
Read More

D’Army Bailey (1941-2015)
D’Army Bailey founder of the National…
Read More

Calvin Peete (1943–2015)
Calvin Peete at the 1986 Western Open…
Read More

Tunis Gulic Campbell (1812–1891)
Tunis Campbell was one of the most…
Read More