Michael H. Smith in costume at the Eiteljorg Museum
Michael H. Smith
Bringing History to Life through Specific Characters

Photo of Michael H. Smith dressed in cowboy gearMichael H. Smith is a performer at heart.  He acts and sings for a living, and one of his specialties is character impersonation.  When he became interested in the history of the black cowboys, he realized that an excellent way to bring more attention to these unknown heroes would be to portray one of them.  Through his research, he became interested in a man named Matthew “Bones” Hooks and he has been performing as Matthew Hooks ever since. 

During his week at the Eiteljorg Museum, he also portrayed a black actor named Herb Jeffries, who was featured in a number of Western films made during the 1960’s featuring black actors.  The Eiteljorg had a exhibit at the time called Harlem Goes West: The Black Cowboy.  It was great fun to run into Michael in the galleries and end up having a conversation with Matthew Hooks or Herb Jeffries instead.

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Michael H. Smith's residency was supported by grants from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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