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Smith was also frequently targeted by police because he was the one club owner who remained unaffected by the Great Depression. He sported his Stutz Bearcat sportscar and a 1921 Packard when everyone else was broke. Smith turned his attention to hotels, opening the Golden West and the Coast hotels in Seattle’s International District. The hotels hosted both Asian-Americans and Blacks.

Through his wealth, Smith became the go-to person for those looking for investors. With his help, people started their own businesses, but if they failed, Smith would acquire the business outright and make it successful. Smith retired in 1940 and spent his the rest of his life using his fortune to help the Seattle community.

Little Known Black History Fact: E. Russell Smith  was originally published on

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