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Black Leader William Smith Dies

William M. Smith, a civil rights activist and retired bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, died Wednesday. He was 79.

For several years, Smith was listed among Ebony magazine’s 100 most influential blacks in the United States. He was a former state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and delivered the opening invocation at the 1988 Republican convention in New Orleans.

He was named senior bishop of the AME Zion Church in 1980 and retired in 1992.