Sister Rita S.R. Smith was born and raised in Washington D.C. and joined The Church of God under Elder Lighfoot Solomon Michaux. As a young girl she was active in all the plays and programs in the church. It was while she was singing “The Pearly White City”, that Bro Okie Smith saw her and said to himself: “I’m going to marry that girl!”. A few years later, it came to pass. They married on May 12, 1945 and on Feb. 25, 1946 their eldest son Michael M. was born. The next year on the same month and date Peter L. was born and it started a line of Smith sons. The first girl was born as a twin to her brother Mark. Marcia was the seventh child and the first girl. In 1960 she finished her child bearing with the twelfth child, John Adam. Sister Rita was given the task of starting the Junior choir in The Church of God at Newport News. When Elder came and heard the same old songs being sung, he said to her” Sing unto a new song, Sister Rita!”. From then on Mom asked the Lord for a song, and every week until her last days of being the leader of the Junior Choir, she composed a song or two each week for the choir. She loved the sound of children’s voices singing the songs of Zion.
As the grand children were born, she would keep them at her house. She taught me how to take care of the babies. So from 1970-1975, I watched over the grand sons that were born, under her tutelage . Sister Rita loved gardening, cooking, sewing, and spending time teaching the “grands” about serving the Lord. She spent a lot of time with her daughters in law, teaching them to cook different things and to take care of their families. She was a virtuous woman. She loved God, her husband, her children, and grand children as well as everyone else’s children. She was a kind and loving person to all that she met. We do well to follow in her footsteps. (Submitted by: Sister Marcia K. Kirby)
The Church of God of Williamsburg would like to acknowledge our past founder, Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux. Elder Michaux was known as the “Happy Am I” preacher, but he was also a businessman. The Elder started out as a fisherman, but went on to fish for men’s souls, bringing them to Christ, by preaching to them the true word of God.
But Elder Michaux had a nose for business. Besides founding seven churches along the eastern seaboard he had a dream of cooperative farming. He wanted to have on a 400 acre tract of land, 80 farms of five-acre tracts each and build on them 80 homes of five to six rooms for families. The families would be supplied with cows, chickens, pigs, and seed to plant on the land assigned to them. The crop would be sold to the market and the proceeds would be divided equally after expenses. The families were to live there permanently, but they had to abide by the ideals of the National Memorial.
Elder Michaux's greatest accomplishment was the establishment of the National Memorial to the Progress of the Colored Race in America. He purchased some land along the Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, Virginia, on January 2, 1936. In August 1943, he purchased a second track of land in that area, and established the James City County Bible and Agriculture Training School Farm. Elder wanted the farm to be a place of training for delinquent young men. The National Memorial Park Beach and the farm were apart of the National Memorial to the Progress of the Colored Race in America.
Elder Michaux bought the farm because he said America would experience another depression. During this depression, he said, there would be plenty of money, but no food.
He always said that if the people of God could get to the farm and get a glass of milk, and a piece of bread, they would be able to survive.
In 1942, Elder Michaux constructed a luxury housing development for nearby black families. The first of its kind, the 595 unit in seventeen three story buildings, called Mayfair Mansions, was the first federally subsidized black housing in the nation.(Black Washington)
In 1961, Elder Michaux and his followers held a ceremony at the National Memorial Park Beach, commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the last boat load of slaves that landed in that area in 1861.
These are just some of the accomplishments of Elder Michaux, who was a man of God, a businessman, and a person who cared about his people and all other people in the world.
Proudly submitted by The Church of God at Williamsburg, the Pastor, Elder Howard W. Smith, Sr., and the congregation, which currently holds its services at 209 Longhill Road, Williamsburg, Virginia, on Fridays and Sundays.
FACTS ABOUT ELDER LIGHTFOOT SOLOMON
AND THREE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS
Now when it comes to his dealings with the 3 American Presidents. He is found in the Library of F.D. Roosevelt and Truman and we will share some of these documents with you to put on line.
He spoke of Eisenhower being the next president after Truman and there is a letter which is provided below for you to learn about Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, the Happy Am I Preacher.
Now when you study the history of Mr. Eisenhower, he bailed the party and joined the Republic party and when President Truman's seven year service had come to an end just as the Elder said that it would be, Mr. Eisenhower ran and won the Election.
Read the letters below:
Sister Mary E. Michaux was the Co-founder of the Gospel Spreading Association, which began in their home in Newport News, Va. Disgusted with the hypocrisy of the sectarian churches, she was led to “COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE SEPARATE”. Sister Michaux as a young woman, was led by God, to be a missionary. She went from house to house in the red light districts telling people about the love of God. Many listened and were blessed. She was a great influence in causing the Elder to give his heart to God.
Sister Michaux loved to sing. Her favorite songs were : ”Some Golden Daybreak”, Yield Not To Temptation”, and “Don’t Forget that Jesus Loves You”. Her singing was a great inspiration to Elder Michaux and he had her to sing on his radio broadcasts.
Sister Michaux was greatly interested in the youth. She wanted to plant seeds of purity in their minds. She would write tracts and pass them out on the street. One tract was called “A Call To The Youth.” Sister was a believer in cleanliness of the mind and body. So she was inspired to start the “Purity Club”. She established the Purity Club in each of the churches. The members of the Purity Club were taught the word of God through paintings, sketches, inspiration songs, Bible lessons, motion pictures and the Sword Drills. The Sword Drills taught the young people to find the scriptures quickly. She taught the young ladies to be “A Peach Out of Reach” of the devil.
Sister Michaux willingly suffered to lift and hold a high standard for God and Godliness for the people in the church and I the minds of our youth. God saved her in her youth and kept her saved. She said “He can keep you! I didn’t play the part of the hypocrite, but stood up for God.
Sister Michaux died on October 20, 1967. She was a lady of ladies. (Taken from the “Victory in Jesus” book .1979)