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Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson

Reverend, W. Franklyn Richardson was born on June 14, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Westside. His father William Franklyn Richardson Sr. worked in the meat packing district, and his mother Amanda Richardson owned a beauty parlor. Richardson is the eldest of four and grew up anchored in the church. He attended West Philadelphia High School and obtained his B.A. degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. In 1975, he earned his master of sacred theology from Yale University, and his doctorate as a Wyatt Tee Walker Fellow from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

At the age of eighteen Richardson delivered his first sermon at Community Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he was issued a license to preach. By the age of nineteen, Richardson was subsequently, full-time pastor of Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia and St. James Baptist Church in Varina, Virginia. In 1975, Richardson delivered his trial sermon at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Veron, New York, a year later he was selected to serve at Grace as senior pastor. In 1976, Grace Baptist Church hosted the New Year’s Eve Watch Night service aired on national radio opposite the New Year’s Eve service hosted by the pope. The following year, Grace’s Christmas service aired on CBS (coordinated by actor Ossie Davis). In 1982, Richardson became the host of WVOX, 1460 radio broadcasted nationally every Sunday morning. He is the founder of, “Windows of Grace”, Grace in Port St. Lucie Florida, and the Freedom School. Richardson has been selected by Al Sharpton to serve as chairman of the National Action Network. As chairman, his responsibilities included leading the organization on raising the consciousness of African-Americans.

Richardson has been inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr., Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also been elected as General Secretary for the National Baptist Convention United States of America, Inc. Richardson has served on the World Council of Churches Central Committee, the Ujamaa community development corporation and the Harvard University Divinity School Summer Leadership Institute. He has been presented with the Red Cross Award and in 2010, delivered a sermon at Saint Matthew Anglican Church in Soweto, South Africa. Richardson currently resides in Scarsdale, New York. He is married to Inez Nunnally Richardson; they are the parents of two adult children and the grandparents of four.

Accession Number

A2012.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/18/2012

Last Name

Richardson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Franklyn

Occupation
Schools

West Philadelphia High School

Virginia Union University

Yale Divinity School

United Theological Seminary

Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School

Belmont Charter School

Hardy Williams Academy

Community College of Philadelphia

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

RIC16

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Monte Carlo, France

Favorite Quote

My, My, My, My, My.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson (1949 - ) was the senior pastor of the Grace Baptist Church and the chairman of the National Action Network.

Employment

Grace Baptist Church

National Action Network

West Park Hospital

Hankins Funeral Home, Inc.

Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church

Conference of National Black Churches

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his mother's upbringing and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's education and professions

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his sister's acting career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the African American community in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his conditional admission to Virginia Union University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Community Baptist Church of West Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Civil Rights Movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his early involvement with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his experiences at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his calling to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his experiences at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls how he came to pastor the Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his professors at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his organizational activities at Virginia Union University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers Reverend Gardner Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how he came to pastor the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the history of the Grace Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his admission to the Yale Divinity School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his graduate degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his seminary professors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his affiliation with the Morehouse College Board of Ministers and Laity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his appointment to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the Grace Baptist Church in Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the National Action Network

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the role of the Conference of National Black Churches

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the theology of storefront churches

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson shares his stance on gay marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his board memberships

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Our Faith Empowers program

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the notable members of the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about Grace Baptist Church's webcasts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the Virginia Union University Board of Trustees

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$3

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools
Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his calling to the ministry
Transcript
Tell me about the Children's Defense Fund Freedom School [Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Mount Vernon, New York].$$Oh man, wonderful. As you know [HistoryMaker] Marian Wright Edelman who worked with Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] in the Civil Rights Movement, one of the byproducts of the movement was she created--well she had a concern that the children of the future would be in better conditions as a result of civil rights and that there continued to be racism that affected children. So she created the Children's Defense Fund [Washington, D.C.] with the purpose of trying to protect children, advocating on behalf of children; legislation, programs and so forth. One of the byproducts of her program is she ended up creating what we call Freedom Schools. Freedom Schools are the result of her passion for the children. I learned about Freedom School, I was invited--she bought the Haley Farm [Alex Haley Farm; Children's Defense Fund Haley Farm, Clinton, Tennessee] and they have retreats there once--annually and other times, but there's a Proctor, Sam Proctor retreat [Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry] that she invited me, they invited me to come speak. While I was there, I was exposed to Freedom Schools. And when I heard about Freedom Schools I was so impacted and influenced that I decided that I would ask our staff to look into how we could do that--we had to have Freedom Schools. So ten years ago we started our first Freedom School. Freedom School is a summer program, six weeks, that's designed to complement public education and to put self esteem into the students. It's based on African motifs; it's written--it's designed for--with a curriculum that's designed for motivation, self esteem. All of the authors are black authors. They get twelve books they read in the course of six weeks. They're exposed to successful African American leaders from mayors to doctors to lawyers to pastors. They come in the mornings and read to them. They go on field trips that are designed to motivation. The whole curriculum, we bring, we take college students, send them to Haley Farm and train them on how to be Freedom School facilitators, and then when the summer comes, we hire the college students to teach the Freedom School scholars. We started out with fifty, then we went to 100, then we went to 150, last year we had six hundred and this year we're going to have six hundred. It cost us about one thousand dollars a student; we don't charge the parents anything. The parents have to pay by--they have to be every Tuesday night at parenting meetings where we give them skills on how to be better parents, more effective parents and so forth. There are so many transformational stories of kids whose lives turned around as a result of Freedom School. Kids who weren't interested in education, weren't interested in school, they go to Freedom School, they go back and the teachers tell us they can't believe the transformation. Some kids had given up on getting an education but Freedom School provides--because Freedom School affirms your identity. It celebrates your blackness, it tells you the story of the struggles of our people. So it's a wonderful place. I'm a total advocate of it. I mean, I wish that every black community in America had the resources to have Freedom Schools. So we, we have sustained this for ten years; we're going to have a ten year anniversary this year of Freedom Schools here in Mount Vernon [New York] that--sponsored by Grace [Grace Baptist Church] and our community development corporation [Ujamaa Community Development Corporation, Mount Vernon, New York].$Now did your mother [Amanda Ellison Richardson] and your uncles kind of--?$$No they, they never, I think that my mother--I think all of my family always thought I was going to be a minister no matter what I said. They felt that I had the markings on me of being a minister and that it was obvious that I was going to be that. In their view there was no question, even though they never pushed it or advocated it, they just put me in the environment. And (laughter), when I decided when I was in high school [West Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] I wasn't going to be a minister, I was going to be a doctor. So I went to high sch- went to work for West Park Hospital [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] after school my last year or the last two years, the eleventh grade. And that's when I was an orderly and so forth. I met the doctors there and they liked me and they said if I were to graduate they would help me go to medical school and so forth. But at the same time, I still struggled with this idea about ministry trying to suppress it and ultimately I had a surgery in 1966, appendectomy, emergency surgery.$$You were like sixteen?$$Right. The surgery was in '65 [1965], and my last year of high school. So at that--long story short, I promised the Lord that if I got through the surgery 'cause at the end of the surgery--the surgery wasn't so bad, but the ap- the spinal they gave me we- malfunctioned and I ended up being paralyzed longer than I was supposed to be and that was really traumatic. And in the process of that, I told the Lord I would go ahead and accept the ministry and preach. When I got out, I still wasn't going to do it (laughter); I still was going to be a doctor. I'll never forget the mixed emotions my dad [William F. Richardson, Sr.] had. When I came home after having presided a funeral one night, I told him I decided I was going to go into the ministry and be a preacher. My dad kind of like you know it was all right that I was going to do that, but he had his mind set on his son being a doctor (laughter). So I accepted--I called my pastor [James Hamlin] the next day and told him that I had finally decided that I'm going into the ministry, I want to go to school. So he said come over and meet with me, and I met with him and from there I ended up preaching my trial sermon, my initial sermon before I left for college, then I went on to Virginia Union [Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia]. So that's the journ- the walk for me.$$Now what did you preach about? What was your first sermon about?$$May 27, nineteen sixty--1967. I preached I have no need to want, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want [Psalms 23:1]. I talked about the, that, that there's no need to want, that God provides all that I, all that I need and that that was worth celebrating, I have no need. Kind of living life with a guarantee, under a--with a foundation, under, underpinning, a s- a net to catch you 'cause God will provide my needs. So I remember that (unclear) it's been fifty- almost fifty years ago.

Darwin N. Davis, Sr.

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.

Accession Number

A2005.050

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/16/2005

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Nathaniel

Occupation
Schools

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Flint Central High School

New Mexico State University

First Name

Darwin

Birth City, State, Country

Flint

HM ID

DAV16

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

Sponsor

Lincoln Financial Group Foundation

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, North Carolina, South Carolina, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

4/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Stamford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Death Date

4/16/2006

Short Description

Insurance executive Darwin N. Davis, Sr. (1932 - 2006 ) was one of the black salesmen Equitable Life Insurance hired in the wake of the 1964 Detroit race riot. Davis quickly rose from his entry level position to become the company’s first African American regional president.

Employment

Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Detroit Public Schools

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:4120,53:8878,96:9234,101:13684,158:14396,167:18820,267:19380,276:25080,296:25640,304:31240,392:32760,432:33080,437:36220,442:40376,461:40796,467:46280,521:50005,557:56150,598:58530,632:58955,638:61675,681:72980,829:79185,901:95401,1283:96473,1304:100024,1399:100292,1404:100694,1412:107250,1519:108290,1537:114090,1650:123975,1792:126006,1803:126294,1808:126798,1816:132580,1864:142192,2004:147685,2098:164488,2287:164776,2300:168088,2363:168376,2368:183699,2510:185239,2584:194665,2742:196765,2808:197215,2815:198115,2839:206530,2919:210983,3012:211640,3023:213392,3057:213830,3065:214122,3070:214414,3075:214925,3082:216166,3109:225664,3257:229024,3297:234810,3324:235170,3330:235530,3336:245780,3412:253792,3460:254088,3465:255568,3480:256530,3489:256826,3494:257492,3550:258232,3561:258824,3573:260156,3606:260748,3618:261192,3625:261932,3633:262968,3671:272580,3783$0,0:15595,123:19345,145:19629,150:20268,171:20623,177:28958,281:29920,304:35886,390:44154,609:60922,786:61987,814:65120,837:65408,842:67136,872:68072,896:68504,903:69800,952:70448,962:82488,1118:88248,1213:94604,1284:105382,1482:105762,1488:108042,1527:108878,1539:110018,1561:110930,1580:111234,1585:117314,1705:121659,1715:122074,1721:123817,1748:126730,1784:128022,1815:139790,2005:140245,2012:143988,2087:144762,2099:145536,2109:146052,2116:146826,2127:150968,2174:153186,2186:155022,2216:161510,2273:162770,2286:163130,2291:165370,2304:169284,2336:175625,2412:182094,2549:182508,2556:185585,2590:186265,2599:190510,2661:191150,2672:193985,2708:194269,2713:194766,2721:196825,2767:218746,3002:223399,3027:223731,3032:227120,3088
DAStories

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers learning about slavery at Whittier Junior High School in Flint, Michigan
Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 1
Transcript
What were your favorite subjects in school?$$I liked history. I liked math. I had, I had some good experiences. To tell you one, remember when we studying American history and this is in junior high school [Whittier Junior High School, Flint, Michigan]. Studying American history and we were talking about slavery. Which was, was you know was taught in a way very, you were made to feel very uncomfortable if you were black in this room with 92/94 percent white kids. You were made to feel very bad about, inferior almost about it and we were talking about Nate [sic. Nat] Turner's Rebellion where he rebelled and killed some white people and got some, led some slaves to do that. And the teacher was talking about what a maniac he was and how ridiculous he was and all she just went on and on and on. And then she asked people in the room what do they think about that. Oh I wasn't about to volunteer any thoughts about that. She said then, "Well [HistoryMaker] Darwin [N. Davis, Sr.] what do you think about that?" And I said, "Well I think that more slaves would have been like him, they would of been better and better off." I mean, I couldn't understand how they let people do that, do all those things to them. And she was appalled. She was upset and angry. She kicked me out of the school. Kicked me out of the room and sent to the principal's office and I was not allowed to come back to school unless my parents [Marrietta Todd Davis and Abner Davis] came. Well I went home and told my father about this and he said, "Well what happened? What did you do?" And I told him what happened and he said, "That's all you did, you didn't mouth off or anything did you?" And I said, "No dad, I didn't I just, she asked me a question and I answered her." So he went to the school the next morning with me and the principal said that you know he started. He said, "Wait before we do this, let's get the teacher here too because I want to hear what everybody says about this." Teacher came and my father said, "Now what happened?" And she said, "Well you know he just upset the class, he started real trouble, he was very ill-mannered." And so, "Well what did he do?" And so, he asked her and she said, "Well, he can tell ya" so I said exactly what happened and he said, "So is that what happened?" She said, "Yes." He say, "Now the way I hear this, you asked him a question, he answered you, very manneredly, and you didn't like the answer so you kicked him out." And she said, "Well that kind of thinking is just not acceptable." "No but you did ask him a question and he did answer you and he was not ugly about it and I don't understand why you kicked him out." And I, I, he told the principal, he said, "And I think something should be done about this. She kicked him out of school because he answered the question and she didn't like the answer." Well I was so proud of my father man because, I was already made to feel very bad. This whole thing about slavery in junior high school was just denigrating. I mean you are made to feel less than a person. The way that this teacher taught it she was just really bad. And I always remember that about my father. How proud I was he stood up for me. Because I hadn't done anything wrong and I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. Well, you know, that, nobody bothered me in that school again. But I had a wonderful schooling. Schools were good. They were tough and I had a good life in junior high and high school [Flint Central High School, Flint, Michigan] and elementary school. We walked of course. There were no busing. We walked through snow up to your knees. You walked to school, nobody bothered you. You know, it was very different in those days. The '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s].$I went into the insurance business in Detroit, Michigan in 1966, '65 [1965], '66 [1966], '66 [1966] and as a salesman. In October 1st and I did real well even with those three months, I really did well. And I loved it, I was fascinated with this business. That first of all you could do a lot to help people and make money at the same time. And I'd been, this whole thing about helping people had been handed down to me through my father [Abner Davis], as I told you about. And I always wanted to do something to help people. I like, that's why I liked teaching school I could help people. I would see kids. In math teaching--math you could see the change. In reading it takes years to see the change but in math, sometimes you can see it in two weeks. And I was very in love with the insurance business because I grew to know that because of me, I could pass a school with--there'd be thirty kids in that school, I knew were going to get an education because their parents had talked to me. I was going to be the one who provided the information and the financial prowess that they would be able to get an education, go to school, and I was very proud of this. I was proud of what I did and proud of what the result would be. I clearly understood the insurance business from the very beginning. That people looked at the insurance business says well you know you pay some money and when you die somebody get some money. I looked at all the living benefits and I, my whole presentation would be about the living benefits of insurance and how you could take care of your family. You could pay a mortgage off early by buying a policy and taking the cash values and dividends and pay off the house ten years early. And I was just was fascinated by that. And I was very successful at it from the very beginning. And I then became a district manager. And Al Carlton [Jr.] and I, he was the district manager and I was the assistant district manager. We built the number one district in the United States in the Equitable [Life Assurance Society of America; AXA Financial] system. Al became an agency manager in Chicago [Illinois] and I took over the Detroit office. We grew that office into the top three of the whole United States. And it was a powerful financially, rich organization that did very, very well. As a result of that, the Equitable, I won two President's Trophies in two years, which most people don't do.$$So what did you do (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) President's Trophies the highest honor you can win as a branch manager. It's a test of you as a business person. They test you in eight areas. But the whole idea is production growth through manpower development with expense control. In other words, you had to grow the business but it had to be--grow it financially profitable. And with expense control. And I did that and at that time I guess I became agency manager in four and a half years and I don't think anybody ever done that much quicker than that. And then I became vice president, they moved me to New York [New York] in 1974.