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The Honorable Danny K. Davis

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Information about The Honorable Danny K. Davis

Profile image of The Honorable Danny K. Davis

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip), Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1941
Birth Location:
Parkdale, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip), Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1941
Birth Location:
Parkdale
See how The Honorable Danny K. Davis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

United States Congressman from the 7th District of Illinois, Danny K. Davis was born a sharecropper’s son on September 6, 1941, in Parkdale, Arkansas. He attended Savage High School in Parkdale, where he graduated in 1957. A history major with an education minor, Davis earned a B.A. from Arkansas A. M. & N. College at Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1961. Moving to Chicago, he clerked for the United States Post Office before going to work as a teacher at Ferdinand Magellan School in 1962. Davis received an M.S. in school guidance from Chicago State University in 1968 while continuing his education in 1969 and 1970 with courses in administration, supervision, psychology, and political science. In 1977, he was awarded the Ph.D. in public administration by Union Institute.

During the 1960s, Davis, like many others, became involved in the modern day Civil Rights Movement. He also became active in politics on Chicago’s West Side. In 1969, he became executive director of the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission, and then left to become director of training for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Center. By 1971, Davis was a manpower consultant for the Westside Health Planning Organization (WHPO), and in 1972, became executive director of WHPO. From 1976 through 1981, he served as special assistant to the president of Mile Square Community Health Center. Davis also taught college courses at Malcolm X College, National College of Education, Illinois Benedictine College, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

In 1979, Davis won the aldermanic seat for Chicago’s 29th Ward as an independent. He then became 29th Ward Committeeman in 1984. Active during Chicago’s Harold Washington years, Davis served until 1990 when he resigned from the Chicago City Council to take a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners. After an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 1991, he ran for and won the U.S. 7th Congressional District seat in 1996. Davis is now one of three African Americans representing Chicago in the United States Congress. Considered a grassroots progressive like former mayor Harold Washington, Davis is fond of quoting nineteenth century abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the nature of struggle. Davis, a popular public speaker as well as an effective legislator, connects with constituents on education, criminal justice and housing issues.

Davis has two children and lives with his wife, Vera, on Chicago’s West Side.

See how The Honorable Danny K. Davis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Danny K. Davis interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis talks about his mother's family and distant relatives he has found in recent years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis talks about his father's family origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Danny K. Davis recalls stories about Confederate treasure and seeing "haints"
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Danny K. Davis recalls his father's stories about whites playing "supernatural" tricks and swindling blacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis remembers his mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis remembers his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis remembers his father's prayers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis explains the effects of seasons on sharecropping families
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Danny K. Davis discusses his parents' meeting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Danny K. Davis describes struggles in his early school life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Danny K. Davis remembers the Parkdale, Arkansas community of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Danny K. Davis remembers an influential teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis describes highlights from his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis shares lessons from his high school days
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis discusses his college prospects
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis shares an anecdote about his sharecropper father insisting on fair pay
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Danny K. Davis remembers his college experience at Arkansas AM & N
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis talks about civil rights events while he was a student at Arkansas A.M. & N.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis recalls race relations in Arkansas during the 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis remembers his experiences in college and the value of education for African American males
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis talks about his move to Chicago and job search after college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Danny K. Davis recalls his work in Chicago schools and community organizations and his entry into politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Danny K. Davis talks about his early years as a Chicago alderman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis recalls black Chicago aldermen's split with Mayor Jane Byrne
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis discusses his election as an alderman from Chicago's West Side, where black politicians had previously been controlled by white ward bosses
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis talks about Otis Collins, Harold Washington, the Sims-Carothers family and other black Chicago politicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis recalls the origins of Harold Washington's 1983 campaign for mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Danny K. Davis discusses groups and individuals that worked together for Harold Washington's 1983 election as mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Danny K. Davis remembers the 'Council Wars' in Chicago
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis comments on Mayor Harold Washington's ability to share his vision of Chicago
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis reflects on the death of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and the power grab afterward
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis discusses his unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Chicago in 1991
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Danny K. Davis talks about his election to U.S. Congress and his successful legislation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Danny K. Davis recalls the highlights of his U.S. Congressional career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Danny K. Davis talks about how individual constituents and grassroots groups influence his public policy work
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Danny K. Davis comments on the seniority system in legislatures and how he wishes to be remembered