National News

Mural honors Millers Falls resident and former Red Sox pitcher

Posted August 17

— It's a trivia question that may even stump the most hardcore Red Sox fans.

Have you ever heard of Douglass Smith?

Western mass residents may recognize the name.

The once Millers Falls native has been honored with a mural just across the river, but his family said there is a much greater lesson to be learned from Smith's story than his time in the MLB.

For longtime Millers Falls resident David Brule, this wall means everything.

The mural is of Douglass Smith, a Millers Falls resident, in full uniform for the then Boston Americans, now known as the Red Sox.

Smith pitched just one game in the Sox 1912 World Series championship season, but it was just the start this Turners Fall High School graduate needed.

Brule is Smith's grand-nephew, and looks back on his many fond memories and unforgettable stories.

"He came to our house every Sunday for dinner, with his brother, my grandfather, and we just spent hours at the table after the meal talking about baseball of course."

But there is much more to this mural than that.

Smith was in spring training, ready for his second season, when he was suddenly released.

The Sox claimed it was due to his heart condition, but in reality, a Millers Falls resident wrote a letter to the Red Sox, informing the team that Smith had, "black blood."

Smith was white, black, and Native American, and never saw an MLB field again.

The truth inspired Brule to honor his great uncle any way he could.

"I've really come to understand what I'm doing here, why I look the way I do, and why I think the way I do."

With the help of the Millers Falls art bridge organization, this mural was painted under a railroad bridge in the village, with an image of Smith on the mound, along with a question that will be echoed for years to come.

But Brule said it's not just about the history and the art, but it's the message of race, a lesson that can be taught and learned to this day.

Smith would eventually return home to Turners Falls, where he died in 1973.

He was 85 years old. Brule hopes his story can inspire those at Turners Falls High School today to understand just what their mascot stands for, and for the young artist, 24-year old Marco Correia, it was an honor to turn his passion for art into a piece of history.

The mural can be seen down Newton Street, as Brule continues to share his great uncle's story in hopes of inspiring younger generations today.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all