Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Senior, is a visionary and Pastor Emeritus of the historic Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California, where his son, the Dr. Rev. J. Alfred Smith Jr. is currently the senior pastor. Dr. Smith Sr. serves as Distinguished Professor of Christian Ministry and Preaching at the American Baptist Seminary of the West and the Graduate Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. He is also currently a Visiting Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, as well as Scholar in Residence at the Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He has served as an Acting Dean of the American Baptist Seminary of the West and as Area Representative for the American Baptist Churches of the Ministers’ and Missionaries Benefit Board. Dr. Smith Sr. is a past national president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), and a past president of the American Baptist Churches of the West (ABCW).

For two years consecutively, Dr. Smith was one of Ebony Magazine’s Most Influential Black Americans, and was among the magazine’s Top 15 Greatest Black Preachers of 1993. In 2001, Dr. Smith Sr. was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greenlining Institute, the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the East Bay Area Agency For Children, and in 2002, the Agape Award from the Women’s Ministry of the Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., and the Gandhi Ikeda Award from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. 

A renowned scholar, an acclaimed preacher and an accomplished author of more than sixteen books and a prolific writer, Dr. Smith Sr. has a voracious appetite for reading. His most recent book Speak Until Justice Wakes: Prophetic Reflections from J. Alfred Smith, Sr. was released in 2006. In May 2004, On The Jericho Road was released and this book is a biography of his life in the ministry. Dr. Smith Sr. has several publications, which include: Giving to a Giving God, Basic Bible Sermons, his prayer in 9.11.01: African American Leaders Respond To An American Crisis, his sermon Facing the Insufficiency of National Security With the Sufficiency of Faith, Living Pulpit-Special Supplement, November 2001,, and his essay, entitled Lamentations In The City, in the April 2002 edition of The Living Pulpit. His work also appears in The Encyclopedia of African-American Christian Heritage, by Dr. Marvin McMickle, and Power In The Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons, by Dr. Cleophus LaRue.