On February 7, 1927, Wright was born in one of the poorest Dallas neighborhoods, thecommunity.
According to his son, SM Wright II, his father was determined to “be somebody,” so he focused on his education, graduating from Lincoln High School and earning a bachelor’s degree fromin . He later earned a master’s and a doctorate from Bishop College.
A natural leader, Wright served as advisor to elected officials, businessmen, and civic leaders. He was known for his ability to unite ethnic groups peacefully. During the turbulent 1960s, Dr. Wright worked with city leaders to foster integration in education, employment, and political representation as well as in restaurants, hotels, shops, and swimming pools.
Dr. Wright built the People’s Missionary in in 1957, also becoming Pastor of the congregation. His son SM Wright II, now pastors the church and founded the SM Wright Foundation. Continuing his father’s tradition, the foundation provides support and stability to underprivileged children and less fortunate families through hunger relief, economic empowerment, and assistance in the areas of education, health, and social services.
He died on November 3, 1994. To honor his legacy, then Governor George W. Bush changed the name of Highway 175 to the S.M. Wright Freeway in 1995.