Corporate chief executive Leona Barr Davenport was born November 30, 1957 in Hemingway, South Carolina. Her parents, Mary Leona Barr and Luther Rufus Barr, were sharecroppers. They had ten children. After graduating from high school in Johnsonville, South Carolina, Davenport went on to earn her B.S. degree in business administration and economics from Benedict College in 1979, winning the honor of being one of Ebony magazine’s “Campus Queens of 1978-1979.” In 1999, Davenport received the first Dean’s Community Improvement Scholarship from Clark Atlanta University. She earned her M.B.A. degree with a concentration in marketing from Clark Atlanta in 2001.
After college, Davenport dove straight into the world of business, accepting a position as an accounting supervisor at Gencom, Inc. In 1984, she left Gencom and became a senior auditor at Broniec Associates, where she stayed until 1988. Davenport then became an assistant at the Atlanta Business League, an organization originally affiliated with Booker T. Washington that serves as an advocate for businesses owned by African Americans in the Atlanta area. Davenport worked her way to the top of the ABL, becoming president in 1998. She has held the position ever since. In 2009, Davenport accepted a Legacy Award from Spelman College on behalf of the Atlanta Business League.
Davenport has been active in community service throughout her career, starting with her decade-long affiliation with the Southwest Atlanta Youth Business Organization, or SWAYBO, which is sponsored by the Atlanta Business League. Davenport is also a member of Crossroads Community Ministries, which helps the homeless of Atlanta, and the Economic Development Corporation of Fulton County. In 2000, Davenport was honored for her community service by the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta during their Salute to Black Mothers Banquet.
Davenport lives in Sharpsburg, Georgia with her husband Jewel L. Davenport.
Leona Barr Davenport was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 12, 2010.