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We have written about some of our brothers who were executed. We publish them in no particular order.

Here is the second Memorial:

Ron Smith Remembered by Bart Johnson

Ronald Bert Smith Jr. (Big Ron) was working as a trustee when I arrived at Holman in 2011. Those first few months are a rough transition, but he was one of the calming influences during that time. Helping me get settled in, giving me some books to read, and showing me the ropes. The first 90 days on life row ( we call it that) you are on single walk, a higher security status. But once I finally got off that I started seeing for myself all the things he had been telling me.

At the time he was the vice-chairman of Project Hope. He was there at my orientation, taught me a lot about the history and purpose of PHADP. He also shared a lot about his personal story and about some of our supporters that he wrote. Eventually I joined the sub-board, meeting with the board more often. I got to know him on a personal level. We watched a lot of the same TV programs, read the same books, so we always had plenty to talk about.

Our spiritual journeys also paralleled in a lot of ways. I can’t speak for him but I learned a lot about relying on God to keep me strong for him, especially during the last year. It wasn’t just me. I saw Ron lift up other brothers too, as well as himself. During the months leading up to his execution he stayed strong and firm in his faith. This was a good example for us. If Ron could be that filled with the Holy Spirit facing execution, those of us with more time can be too. We don’t have to be downtrodden just because of where we are. We can be uplifted, we can uplift each other.

Ron did a lot for life row, for PHADP over the years, and just like those who came before him, we are dedicated to the same purpose. We have already reprinted a very insightful piece that Ron shared some years ago about the Supreme Court. We will continue to remember Ron and use his memory as motivation and inspiration to reach our goal of abolishing the death penalty in Alabama.

Bart Johnson