Willis Smith ( born December 19, 1887 in Norfolk, Virginia, † June 26, 1953 in Bethesda, Maryland ) was an American politician of the Democratic Party, who represented the state of North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
Born in Virginia Willis Smith was not yet two years old when his father died and his mother moved with him to North Carolina. There he attended the public school in Elizabeth City, before he graduated from Trinity College in Durham (1910 ) and at the Law School of Duke University (1912). In 1912 he was admitted to the bar and started to work as a lawyer in Raleigh. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army.
During the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 Smith worked as a process observer on behalf of the United States. In 1952 he headed the U.S. delegation at the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Berne. Other offices he took over as chairman of the board of Duke University and as president of the U.S. Bar Association.
1928 Smith's political career began with the election to the House of Representatives from North Carolina, where he remained until 1932; for a short time, he served in 1931 as Speaker of the Chamber. In 1950 he returned to politics when he to the U.S. Senate incumbent Frank Porter Graham defeated in the primaries of the Democratic Party. Graham, who was supported by President Harry S. Truman, and had made a name as a representative of the liberal wing of the party by rejecting the racism was not until a good year before nachgerückt for the late J. Melville Broughton in the Senate, but was defeated now Smith who was assisted by a young policy strategist Jesse Helms, who should represent themselves later for many years as a Republican North Carolina in the Senate.
After election to the Congress and he took office on November 27, 1950 were largely political impetus by Willis Smith. He died in June 1953 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and was buried in Raleigh. In commemoration of the Smith Law School Duke University every year the Willis Smith Award Awarded the law students with the highest grade point average in his class.