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Fred Davis

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Information about Fred Davis

Profile image of Fred Davis

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Entrepreneur
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Brown
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Favorite Quote:
Where there is a will, there is a way.

Birthplace

Born:
5/8/1934
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Entrepreneur
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Brown
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Favorite Quote:
Where there is a will, there is a way.

Birthplace

Born:
5/8/1934
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Fred Davis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Rising to become the first black chairman of the Memphis City Council, Fred L. Davis was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 8, 1934. After graduating from Manassas High School in Memphis in 1953, Davis went to Tennessee State University. After he graduated in 1957 with his BS, Davis entered the Army and served in France for two years. After returning from the Army, he began pursuing his Master's Degree at Memphis State University. Before graduating with his Master's, Davis was elected to serve on the city council.

Davis opened his own insurance agency, Fred L. Davis Insurance, in 1967. The agency was one of the first African American-owned insurance agencies in the South. When the sanitation workers of Memphis went on strike in 1968, Davis was serving on the city council. Siding with the strikers, Davis urged the city to recognize their union. Over the course of several months, there was violence by the police against the strikers when they would march, and leaders from the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference came to support the strike. It was this strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis, where he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, and the strike ended soon thereafter. Davis later became the first African American chairman of the Memphis City Council.

Fred Davis Insurance is one of the most respected companies in Memphis, growing from a small office to a powerhouse of sales. Davis himself is very active in the community, serving on the board of directors of the Assissi Foundation, as a trustee of the Community Foundation, a director of the Memphis Leadership Foundation and a past president of the University of Memphis Society. He has been presented with the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the National Council of Christians and Jews and the Communicator of the Year Award by the Public Relations Society. Davis is married with three children and two grandchildren.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 23, 2003.

See how Fred Davis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fred Davis' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fred Davis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fred Davis discusses his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fred Davis describes his mother's background and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fred Davis describes his father's background and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fred Davis remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fred Davis recalls missing school to pick cotton
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fred Davis remembers Pricilla Hawkins, a neighbor who had been a slave
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fred Davis talks about the schools and church he attended growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fred Davis describes picking and chopping cotton as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fred Davis recalls living with his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fred Davis recalls all the different jobs he had on an Arkansas cotton plantation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fred Davis describes his experience in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fred Davis describes his extracurricular activities, after school jobs, and influential high school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Fred Davis recalls how he worked in the cafeteria and at area clubs and hotels to pay for college at Tennessee State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fred Davis describes starting Fred L. Davis Insurance, one of the first African American-owned insurance agencies in the South, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fred Davis describes starting Fred L. Davis Insurance, one of the first African American-owned insurance agencies in the South, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fred Davis remembers the racial climate of city politics in Memphis, Tennessee in the late 1950s and 1960s.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fred Davis describes changing the Memphis, Tennessee city government in 1966.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fred Davis recalls his election as one of the of the first African American city councilmen in Memphis, Tennessee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fred Davis recalls his election as one of the of the first African American city councilmen in Memphis, Tennessee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fred Davis describes the racial turbulence in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fred Davis recalls the Memphis mayoral election of 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fred Davis talks about the beginning of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fred Davis recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being called in to Memphis during the 1968 sanitation workers strike
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fred Davis talks about The Invaders, a group of violent young activists in Memphis in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fred Davis describes his role as a city councilor during the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fred Davis describes his role as a city councilor during the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fred Davis describes the wage increase negotiations during the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fred Davis describes experiencing death threats after the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fred Davis remembers learning about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fred Davis describes Memphis in the aftermath of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fred Davis reflects on how Memphis has changed since the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fred Davis talks about why he maintains his business in the largest black neighborhood in Memphis
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fred Davis describes efforts to promote minority economic development in Memphis, Tennessee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fred Davis describes efforts to promote minority economic development in Memphis, Tennessee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fred Davis talks about his work with FedEx when its corporate headquarters moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1972
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Fred Davis talks about his involvement in the Society of Entrepreneurs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Fred Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Fred Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Fred Davis describes one of the unique aspects of his business, Fred L. Davis Insurance
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Fred Davis reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Fred Davis talks about his wife and children
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Fred Davis talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Fred Davis narrates his photographs