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Carrie L. Davis

Carrie Lapsky Davis, an educator, clothing boutique owner and realtor, has been a community activist and worker in the political process since her days as a college girl participating in the Civil Rights Movement.

Born May 24, 1944 in Chicago, Davis' father was a physician and surgeon. However, Davis was raised in Port Gibson, Mississippi by her grandparents who owned a dairy. Davis graduated from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi in 1964, the same year she married fellow Tougaloo graduate, James W. Davis, a CPA.

Coming to Chicago in 1968, Davis became a teacher. In 1973, she earned a master's degree in Education from Northwestern University. Opting for the business world, Davis opened Cari's Designer Fashions in 1988, which enabled her to travel the world in search of unique women's clothes. Closing the business ten years later, Davis worked as a Headstart administrator for the Chicago public school system.

A tireless fund-raiser, Davis worked on the campaign to elect Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor. She also gained finanicial support for Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris' and Senator Carol Mosely-Braun's campaigns.

Davis is a lifetime member of the NAACP and a member of Operation Push. She was a founder of the Lake Shore Links, a member of the Chicago Society of Mannequins and the Chicago Art Institute, Tougaloo College Alumni and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. In 1999, she was elected to the Tougaloo Hall of Fame.

The Davises are residents of Chicago's Hyde Park. They have two sons: Stephen, a lawyer and investment banker, and Christopher, a Wall Street trader.

Accession Number

A2002.067

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/9/2002

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lapsky

Schools

Tougaloo College

Northeastern Illinois University

First Name

Carrie

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DAV05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/24/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Fashion entrepreneur Carrie L. Davis (1944 - ) is formerly the owner of Cari's Designer Fashions, and has worked as a Head Start administrator for Chicago Public Schools. Davis is a lifetime member of the NAACP, and was a founder of the Lake Shore chapter of The Links, Inc.

Employment

Cari's Designer Fashions

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carrie L. Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carrie L. Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carrie L. Davis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carrie L. Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carrie L. Davis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carrie L. Davis describes the segregated community of Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carrie L. Davis describes how she perceived segregation as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carrie L. Davis describes her extracurricular activities as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carrie L. Davis talks about her mentors as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Carrie L. Davis talks about being May Day Queen

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Carrie L. Davis describes her experiences attending Addison High School in Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Carrie L. Davis talks about what motivated her to attend college

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Carrie L. Davis talks about attending Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Carrie L. Davis shares the history of Tougaloo College

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Carrie L. Davis describes the faculty at Tougaloo College

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Carrie L. Davis describes the culture at Tougaloo College

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Carrie L. Davis describes her social life as a student at Tougaloo College

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carrie L. Davis describes the entertainment culture of Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carrie L. Davis talks about studying education and sociology at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carrie L. Davis talks about the Civil Rights Movement at Tougaloo, College

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carrie L. Davis describes participating in the Civil Rights Movement as a student at Tougaloo College

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carrie L. Davis recalls her demonstration during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carrie L. Davis describes her Civil Rights activities in Jackson, Mississippi and Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carrie L. Davis describes how the Civil Rights Movement impacted business owners Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carrie L. Davis describes how participating in the Civil Rights Movement affected her studies

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carrie L. Davis talks about Medgar Evers

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Carrie L. Davis comments on law enforcement during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Carrie L. Davis describes how various murders during the Civil Rights Movement affected her

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Carrie L. Davis talks about Robert Parris Moses and Reverend James Bevel

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Carrie L. Davis describes how the Civil Rights Movement shaped her home town of Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Carrie L. Davis talks about meeting her husband, James Davis

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Carrie L. Davis talks about raising her children in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carrie L. Davis talks about raising her children in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carrie L. Davis talks about attending the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carrie L. Davis talks about the teachings of the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carrie L. Davis describes how the teachings of the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies shaped her thinking

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carrie L. Davis describes how her businesses have allowed her to give back to her community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carrie L. Davis talks about her boutique, Carrie's Designer Fashion

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carrie L. Davis talks about her civic involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carrie L. Davis talks about founding Clara's Helping Hand for the Homeless

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Carrie L. Davis talks about supporting the NAACP and Operation PUSH

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Carrie L. Davis talks about fundraising for Harold Washington's 1983 mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Carrie L. Davis talks about the legacy of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Carrie L. Davis talks about fundraising for Roland Burris's 1990 campaign for Illinois State Attorney General

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Carrie L. Davis explains why she supported Carol Moseley Braun's campaign for U.S. Senate

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Carrie L. Davis describes what motivated her to work with political campaigns

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Carrie L. Davis talks about dining with President Bill Clinton

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Carrie L. Davis describes her involvement with Al Gore's 2000 Presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carrie L. Davis talks about Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carrie L. Davis comments on why Vice President Al Gore lost the Presidential election in 2000

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carrie L. Davis talks about being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carrie L. Davis talks about her sons, Steven and Christopher Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carrie L. Davis talks about raising her children

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carrie L. Davis talks about her philosophy on life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carrie L. Davis talks about how American culture has changed

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carrie L. Davis narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carrie L. Davis narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carrie L. Davis narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carrie L. Davis narrates her photographs, pt. 4

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Carrie L. Davis describes the entertainment culture of Jackson, Mississippi
Carrie L. Davis describes how the Civil Rights Movement impacted business owners Port Gibson, Mississippi
Transcript
Okay.$$Okay.$$You were talking about the entertainment in Jackson [Mississippi] and the, the musicians that came through there. And just, well, you know, continue to talk about that.$$Well, that was one of the very, very wonderful things about being at Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi] because we, we were only 20 miles outside of Jackson. And all of the big entertainers would come through Jackson. They would perform at this place called the Rose Room. And coming from Port Gibson [Mississippi] where we didn't even have a red light, I just thought the Rose Room was the most beautiful place in the world. It had this beautiful rose right in the center, all neon. And it was a huge room with a stage, and they'd have a band. And when I was a Tougaloo, I got to see Ted Turner, James Brown, Jackie Wilson. Any star during the '60's [1960s] would come through Jackson and we would find a way to get there to see them, and we never missed any. In fact, I can remember James Brown sweating as if it were yesterday. And we were all standing on top of the tables so we could make sure that we got a real good look at him. But it was really a wonderful experience, a wonderful experience. I remember going to see B.B. King [HM] for 50 cents, and James--Bobby "Blue" Bland. There was a very special place call the, the Blue Room in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which is about 20 miles south of Jackson. And we would go there to see some of the stars too. It was a very special place. In fact, the owner, Tom Wince, was on "60 Minutes" about three years ago, how he developed this club. And I think he was the only guy in Mississippi that was a polygamist.$$Really, he--$$Yes, he had several wives and a beautiful club, I mean just absolutely gorgeous.$Now when did Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee come to Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi]?$$I think in 1960, 'cause there was a relationship all the while I as there. They call it SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]. And somebody was always there to talk about stuff or to motivate kids to get involved, that kind of thing. But I, I, I, I did the first sit-in, sit-in in my hometown of Port Gibson [Mississippi]. The day they passed the Civil Rights Bill I had my husband--'cause I married in college, so I had my husband [James Davis] drive me to Port Gibson. And there was this drugstore called McDaniel's Pharmacy, and when I was a little girl growing up we'd have to go around to the side to get our milkshakes. And I always wanted to play the jukebox and sit down and have a milkshake. So I--when I was growing up in Port Gibson I wasn't--I don't know. I guess I just never thought about, you know, why I had to go around to the side. Once I became involved in the movement, I realized, everything came clear. So I said when they pass the Civil Rights Movement I'm gonna go to McDaniel's Pharmacy and have a milkshake. So I went down there and that's exactly what I did. And Mr. McDaniel's was friends with my family. And he said to me, little Carrie Dean, I don't why you're doing this. Now you know better, but he serve--he reluctantly served me. And he said you know, after all, I did give your grandmother good credit. And when I go back down there I always go to see him. He's still--he's, he's in his nineties and he's still alive. And I'm doing a book, and I'm going to interview him this summer. I liked to have just feel--you know, he's just a changed man, and I'd like to know what he--what he's thinking now and how his reflections might be.$$And that was my next question: How have you changed or how is he, you know.$$Well, he hi--he's hired lots of, of, of Afro Americans in his business. In fact, he has a new store now. And I understand he's still doing prescriptions. He's obviously had a change of heart, because after I did the sit-in in Port Gibson, everything changed. I mean there was a bit--there were--it was sit-ins; there were demonstrations; there was a big boycott, and it ended up that a lot of the white merchants, in fact ninety percent of, lost their businesses because of the--of, of the boycott. Several of the merchants that I used to buy from and my paren--family when I was there, they said that no black person would ever ring that cash register. And so black people just stopped going to those stores. And I don't know if you're familiar, but--and I should have brought all the information, and I can probably still get it, but I there was a suit filed against the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] by the whites in Port Gibson because of the big losses. But I, I don't think they ever won anything, because the town now is--there are a lot of black entrepreneurs as well as whites there. So it really changed for the better I think.$$Is the town majority black, Port Gibson [Mississippi]?$$Port Gibson is about probably half and half, probably half and half. It's a very small town, probably less than 4,000 people, maybe--$$(Simultaneous)--$$--a little more now.$$So black customers are significant, you know?$$Oh, certainly, certainly. But before that, no one had ever thought about, you know, doing anything. I mean whites owned all the businesses there basically, you know, the, the, the retail stores, the few that we had.