On November 7, 2011, Farina King and her American Civilization class of about 120 students invited Navajo Code Talker Albert Smith to speak at Utah Valley University. As a part of a service-learning initiative, the students fundraised and organized the Code Talker’s visit, during which he met with UVU President Matthew S. Holland.
King’s students had the chance to interview and interact with the Marine Corps veteran. They prepared questions for Navajo Code Talker Albert Smith and practiced oral history while asking him about his experiences during World War II.
Albert Smith spoke as a guest lecturer during King’s American Civilization class alongside Iraq War army veteran Rachel Kirby.
In the evening, Smith gave a public lecture to the Orem community. Nearly 300 community members were in attendance. Students also led a service opportunity to write letters of appreciation to local veterans.
The course traced major historical developments such as wars, contextualizing the changing American perspectives and treatment of veterans throughout U.S. history. The class primarily focused on the intertwined histories of diverse American communities.