Samuel Morgan Smith was born in Philadelphia on 20 June 1832.  In May 1866, he left America for Britain with his wife, Mary Eliza Taylor and their young child. One of the possible reasons, the Smith family may have decided to migrate across the Atlantic is revealed in the Beverley and East Riding Recorder, which reported ‘Mr Ira Aldridge, the negro actor, is not destined to win all the dramatic laurels for his race. An American negro actor, Mr Morgan Smith, a native of Philadelphia, whose colour has been a bar to his appearing in any theatre of his own country, is about to appear on the English stage.’  It is probable that after hearing of Ira Aldridge’s success (read Aldridge’s story), Smith decided to pursue his acting career in Britain. The move was clearly a success as shortly after his arrival in May 1866, he began performing as Othello in theatres in London and Birmingham.
The Smith family lived in Hammersmith in London and as Jeffrey Green has demonstrated were acquaintances of William and Ellen Craft (read the Crafts' story) who lived nearby.  However, by the autumn of 1867, the Smiths had moved to Angelo House on Shaftsbury Road. Sadly, on 6 October, Mary died of epilepsy at the age of 27.  Two years later Smith went on to marry Harriett Goldspring in Glasgow during the Spring of 1869. 
In the late 1860s and early 1870s the talented African American actor had a hectic work schedule touring all over Britain. He visited many towns and cities taking on a wide variety of roles. It is possible that he performed at Hull during this period as advertisements with the Black actor dressed as Othello were visible in the city. On 10 December 1869, the Hull Packet advertised a 10 shillings reward for information that would lead to the conviction of the ‘evil-disposed person or persons’ who had torn ‘a Coloured Lithographed Portrait of Mr Morgan Smith, coloured Tragedian, in Character as “Othello” from the Hull Advertising Van.’  However, evidence of his actual performances in Hull at this time has not yet been found.
While there is a degree of uncertainty as to whether Smith came to Hull, there is no doubt that he performed in East Yorkshire during the summer of 1875. In June ‘Mr & Mrs. Morgan Smith’s, Unique Drawing Room ENTERTAINMENT!’ was showcased at the Public Rooms in Goole. The programme consisted of selections from Shakespeare and other great poets.  After their performances the Goole Times reported that the duo ‘were of a very high character and deserved more public support than they received. Mr. Smith as an elocutionist and reciter takes a good position, while Mrs Smith is a performer of satisfactory type. The manner in which she played her part in the laughable selection entitled the “Dumb Belle,” especially attracted attention.  Sadly, this was Smith’s last performance in front of an East Yorkshire as he died at his home in Sheffield on 22 March 1882.
-  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 138; Volume #: Roll 138 - 01 Apr 1866 - 30 Apr 1866.
-  Beverley and East Riding Recorder, 7 July 1866, p. 7.
-  Jeffrey Green, Samuel Morgan Smith profile, http://www.jeffreygreen.co.uk/072-s-morgan-smith-the-black-actor-1832-1882, accessed 14/3/18.
-  Ibid.
-  Ancestry.com. Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
-  Hull Packet, 10 December 1869, p. 4.
-  Goole Times, 18 June 1875, p. 2.
-  Goole Times, 25 June 1875, p. 2.