The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Darwin N. Davis, Sr.

Share on Social Media

Information about Darwin N. Davis, Sr.

Profile image of Darwin N. Davis, Sr.

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica, North Carolina, South Carolina, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Birthplace

Born:
4/10/1932
Birth Location:
Flint, Michigan

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica, North Carolina, South Carolina, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Birthplace

Born:
4/10/1932
Birth Location:
Flint
See how Darwin N. Davis, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Darwin Nathaniel Davis, retired senior vice president of AXA Financial (formerly Equitable Life Insurance), was born on April 10, 1932, in Flint, Michigan; his maternal grandfather managed General Motors Executive Garage, and his father, Abner Davis, became the first black postal clerk in Flint. After attending Clark Elementary School, Whittier Junior High School, and Flint Central High School, Davis played football at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas A&M University) where he earned his B.A. degree in business administration in 1954.

Snubbed by General Motors because of his race, Davis served in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957, tracking missiles at White Sands, New Mexico. Returning to college, Davis earned his M.Ed. degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, and then worked as a mathematics teacher at Duffield Elementary School and Jones Elementary School. One of the black salesmen Equitable Life Insurance hired in the wake of 1964’s Detroit race riot, Davis became a district manager by his third year. Between 1971 and 1974, Davis earned every type of managerial award Equitable offered. Promoted to vice president of manpower development in 1974, Davis served as the company’s first African American regional president in 1975. In 1989, Davis was promoted to senior vice president of Equitable Life Assurance Society and recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 25 most important African American executives. A mentor to many young African American executives, Davis retired as senior vice president of AXA Financial in 1998.

Davis served on the African American advisory board of Pepsi-Cola and the boards of the Albert Oliver Program, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Executive Leadership Foundation, the National Minority Golf Foundation, and the Jesse Owens Foundation. Davis also served as vice president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Davis, a recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, had four grown children and lived with his wife, Velmarie, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Davis passed away on Sunday, April 16, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

See how Darwin N. Davis, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darwin N. Davis, Sr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his maternal family's life in Ayrshire, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis recounts his maternal family's move from Ayrshire, Indiana to Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis talks about his mother's job at the Murray's Superior Products Company in Chicago, Illinois and his parents meeting
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his paternal family's reunion at a Louisiana sugar refining plantation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls how his father became the first black postal clerk in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls his father's kind-hearted, generous nature
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, describes his childhood neighborhood and schools he attended in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers learning about slavery at Whittier Junior High School in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recounts growing up with Dr. Herbert Odom
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his experience at Flint Central High School in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls his initial plan to work at the Flint, Michigan automobile factories after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects on playing football at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis describes his studies and influential teachers at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes college classmates, including HistoryMakers Malcolm Hemphill, Jr. and Jeff Donaldson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls challenging a racist bus driver while traveling in the South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about enlisting in the U.S. Army after being denied a job opportunity at General Motors in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about teaching in Detroit, Michigan public schools during the late 1950s and early 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes how he met and married his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. explains how he began working for Equitable Life Assurance Society of America in 1966
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his career at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers responding to a racist coworker at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes the racism he encountered while a manager for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about the promotion of black professionals in corporate America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about African American women at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. names foundations and organizations with which he is involved
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his father
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his mother's pride in his accomplishments
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. narrates his photographs