D. Ray Smith, who is known for his love of Oak Ridge history, could be named honorary city historian on Monday.
Among other activities, Smith is historian at the Y-12 National Security Complex, has been a guide on U.S. Department of Energy tour buses at federal sites in Oak Ridge, writes a weekly newspaper history column, testified before Congress on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and frequently photographs community events.
The Oak Ridge City Council will consider naming Smith as honorary city historian during a regular meeting on Monday.
Oak Ridge City Council member Charlie Hensley drafted the proposal. He said Smith is also a leader in the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association, has been a featured speaker in talks on Oak Ridge heritage, was central to creating a history center at Y-12’s New Hope Center, and serves in a support role for implementation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
“No one currently in our community is better suited to serve as our city historian than Mr. D. Ray Smith,” Hensley said.
Bill Wilcox, another man who had a passion for Oak Ridge history, was the city’s last historian. Wilcox died on September 2, 2013. He had been appointed to help elected officials, city staff, students, and the public understand Oak Ridge history.
“It is now time to name an honorary city historian to take his place,” according to the resolution to name Smith to the unofficial post.
The resolutions said Oak Ridge is a unique community that was the first and primary Manhattan Project site, and the city historian can help city officials when they need help with historical background when applying for grants and sending out official correspondences and community information.
The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II. But Oak Ridge continued to have a historical impact even after the Manhattan Project, including in education, science, technology, national defense, and environmental stewardship, the resolution said.
The Oak Ridge City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, December 14, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.
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