Dr. Toni Shorter Smith works to cultivate and preserve African American culture of the Near East Side of Columbus. From the Opera Columbus Outreach position where she shepherded commissioned black opera Vanqui to completion, to the King Arts Complex Development Director position where her grant awards included the largest ever for Summer Camp, Smith’s work often connects her to the grass roots of the community. A native of Columbus, Smith recalls the places and spaces that underpinned the thriving black community of her childhood that was economically viable and culturally remarkable. Yet many of the built structures that contributed to the safe, vibrant black community are being or have already been erased. An Adjunct Professor at Columbus State Community College, Smith chairs the James Preston Poindexter Foundation, a non-profit partnering with Ohio History Connection to develop two remaining historic Poindexter Village public housing buildings into a museum and cultural center.