About the Pearl Coalition
The Pearl Coalition was founded in 2001 by the late Lloyd D. Smith and Dan Nachtigal. The Pearl Coalition is incorporated under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act and contributions are tax deductible. The Internal Revenue Service has recognized the Pearl Coalition as a 501(c) (3) corporation able to accept tax-deductible charitable contributions.
The Pearl Coalition Mission
The Pearl Coalition’s mission is to foster a modern cultural understanding of slaves, slavery, and escapes from slavery, in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This mission will facilitate cultural offerings designed to educate visitors on the array of racial, social, economic factors, contributions of the people and places involved in the Pearl escape, and the inner workings of the Underground Railroad.
The story of The Pearl exemplifies the strength and dignity of enslaved African Americans and their free families taking matters into their own hands. These were not people waiting to be saved. These were heroes, saving themselves and their families. This is why The Pearl is different from all other Tall Ships; it represents hidden history that needs to be told.
David W Smith Sr.
Executive Director of the Pearl Coalition David Smith, with his eldest daughter Myiah
at her valedictorian celebration. David's grandfather Lloyd D. Smith was the original
founder of The Pearl Coalition.
A native of Washington, D.C., David Smith is the Executive Director of the Pearl Coalition and comes to the organization with over fifteen years of community development and non-profit experience. David is also the grandson of the late Lloyd D. Smith, the original founder of the Pearl Coalition.
Prior to his role with the Pearl Coalition, David has served in a variety of high visibility leadership roles where he led environmental justice, habitat restoration and construction projects, and youth development projects in the District’s most under-resourced neighborhoods.
Most recently he served as the Acting Executive Director of one of the nation’s most renowned environmental conservation and green job training programs, the Earth Conservation Corps. During his six years with the organization prior to serving as Acting E.D., David held two community outreach and program management positions as the Anacostia Riverkeeper and the Program Director of the AmericCoprs program. With David in these leadership positions, ECC was able to graduate its members at over an eighty percent completion rate and complete major conservation projects alongside of notable project partners, including the Mayor’s Office of Washington D.C., the DC Department of Transportation, DC Parks and recreation, the DC Department of health (now know as DDOE), the environmental Protection Agency, and many local and national non-profit organizations .
In 2005 David served for a period of time as the Contractor/Program Manager and VIP Coordinator with East of the River Clergy Police Community Partnership (ERCPCP). ERCPCP, which, with David’s help, achieved high honors from the U.S. Department of Justice for their work preventing increases in youth crime in South East Washington D.C.
David completed is undergraduate studies in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. David has received local and national recognitions from Department of Justice, 60 Minutes, PBS Bill Meyers, DC Serve, AmeriCorps, and Chesapeake Life Magazine, among others.