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Memoir Review    

Climbing Jacobís Ladder:
A Trial Lawyer's Journey on Behalf of "the Least of These"
Jock M. Smith with Paul Hemphill
Foreword by Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
NewSouth Books, 2002
$26.95 (304p)
ISBN: 1-58838-078-5

Climbing Jacobís Ladder pays homage to Jock Smith's father, Jacob Abraham Smith who was murdered in 1957. Jacob Smith was deeply committed to his family, community, and profession. When his life was cut short by the bullet from a client's disgruntled husband, his wife shouldered the burden of rearing her young children alone.

Jock's grief and depression led his high school counselor to believe the young man could best serve the community as a "garbage collector." The realization he wasn't living up to his father's legacy forced the young man to make serious changes in his life. At the urging of a family friend, Jock Smith moved from New York to Tuskegee, Alabama to enroll at Tuskeegee  University, where he excelled both in academics and as a student leader.  After attending Kenyon College, the author returned to Tuskegee and was one of the first African-American lawyers to make inroads into Alabama's tightly knit legal and political communities.

Despite his professional accomplishments, Smith felt his spiritual life was lacking. His wife and sister helped him find his way back into the church where he found an unusual and effective way to work with the youth group.  Combining his love for sports memorabilia with his love for God, Smith has founded a outreach ministry.

Climbing Jacobís Ladder is a memorable account of one man's spiritual journey.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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