Margaret Smith Papers

Institution: Chicago State University - Archives and Special Collections
9501 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: 773-995-2586
Date: 1956-2005
Extent: 40 Linear Feet
Finding Aid
Access to this collection is restricted; please contact the holding institution for details.

Biographical/Historical Note:
Margaret Smith served in the Illinois State Legislature from 1981 until 2002. She was known as a staunch defender of the rights of women, children, the elderly, the poor, and the incarcerated.

Smith was born September 25, 1922 in Tennessee. She attended DuSable High School in Chicago and she studied commerce at Tennessee State University. Margaret Smith’s early career was spent in missionary work and administrative service in the Progressive National Baptist Convention. She was also active in the Metropolitan Business and Professional Women, International.

In 1981 Smith was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and following the retirement of her husband she sought and won his Senate seat in 1983. In the Senate she chaired the Public Health, Welfare, and Corrections Committee and was vice-chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. She led an effort in the early 1990s to introduce universal health care in the state of Illinois. Margaret Smith retired in 2002 and died at her home in Chicago in 2005.

Scope and Content Note:
The papers include both official legislative materials and personal items, including extensive amounts of campaign and election materials. Also heavily represented are items from her work in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and other religious and church groups.

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