The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable Stephanie Davis

Magistrate Judge Stephanie Cecile Davis was born on May 22, 1958 in Atlanta, Georgia to Myrtle Reid Davis and Albert Miles Davis. Davis graduated from Northside High School in 1976, before receiving her B.A. degree from Stanford University in 1980, and her J.D. degree from Emory University in 1985.

Just after receiving her degree from Stanford University, Davis was involved in a life changing car accident that left her a paraplegic. The trauma from the experience was not enough to stifle her career goals; just five years later, she received her law degree. One year later, in 1986, Davis began working for the Superior Court of Fulton County as a law clerk and staff attorney.

In 1990, Davis worked as a staff attorney for the Georgia Court of Appeals. During her tenure, she became involved in several civic organizations, including the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, which is focused exclusively on the issues of women and girls in the metropolitan Atlanta community.

In 2000, Davis began serving as the Fulton County Magistrate Judge in Atlanta.
In 2001, Davis filed the first lawsuit against Atlanta’s public transportation system, MARTA, to improve access to public transportation for all Atlanta residents with disabilities. In 2005, she began serving on the advisory board of the Virginia C. Crawford Research Institute.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.262

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/13/2007

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Schools

Stanford University

Emory University School of Law

St. Paul of the Cross Catholic School

North Atlanta High School

First Name

Stephanie

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

DAV21

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Francisco, California

Favorite Quote

Tomorrow Is Another Day.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

5/22/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

County magistrate judge The Honorable Stephanie Davis (1958 - ) served on the Magistrate Court of Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia.

Employment

Magistrate Court of Fulton County

Georgia Court of Appeals

Fulton County Superior Court

Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:2314,37:3827,59:4272,65:8633,139:8989,144:19135,331:19491,336:21093,357:32912,522:33748,536:35192,572:35496,577:36636,598:37016,604:40588,669:41044,677:42260,703:43020,715:43476,722:44008,729:45832,770:48036,822:48492,830:48796,835:62140,1014:67222,1103:67761,1111:70379,1160:82699,1444:83007,1449:84008,1465:85009,1481:85317,1486:97152,1599:102225,1686:102670,1692:103204,1704:107565,1783:108188,1791:132765,2143:134547,2182:136086,2205:136815,2217:137382,2225:145158,2390:162703,2670:163432,2683:163837,2689:171700,2799:173068,2822:173676,2832:174132,2840:175044,2854:175348,2861:175652,2866:178540,2919:179528,2936:180136,2946:186690,3000:188994,3025:189378,3030:200904,3193:209655,3298:209955,3303:212730,3357:214005,3379:214830,3391:227540,3597$0,0:9912,213:22008,476:32046,568:32654,574:33110,585:37366,684:45270,828:45574,833:54928,915:57392,974:95405,1568:108485,1726:109589,1751:110279,1765:112349,1814:115178,1875:116282,1893:116765,1901:121961,1942:134809,2192:135174,2198:137291,2271:137875,2283:138240,2289:141598,2370:142328,2387:148500,2468:150472,2520:162372,2755:179201,2997:179930,3015:180335,3021:193360,3213
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Stephanie Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis talks about her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her maternal grandmother's upbringing and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her father's decision to attend medical school

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her father's U.S. Army service

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her father's encounters with Lena Horne

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers Collier Heights in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls boycotting Rich's department store in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers Collier Heights in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls St. Paul of the Cross Catholic School in Atlanta

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her father's civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls the St. Paul of the Cross Catholic School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls integrating Northside High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her experiences at Northside High School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her experiences at Northside High School, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her decision to attend Stanford University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers WIGO Radio's broadcasting program

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis talks about her early travel experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her orientation at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her housing at Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her activities at Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers Kofi Lomotey

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls protesting for divestment from South Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes the history of Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers pledging Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls working for the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis talks about the San Francisco Bay Area

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers her car accident, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers her car accident, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her spinal cord injury

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her spinal cord injury rehabilitation, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her spinal cord injury rehabilitation, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls applying to the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers moving home to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her studies at the Emory University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her mother's campaign for Atlanta City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers graduating from law school

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls her disability accommodations at the Emory University School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers passing the Georgia State bar examination

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers clerking for Judge Clarence Cooper

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls clerking at the Georgia Court of Appeals

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls advocating for disability access at the Fulton County Courthouse

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes the Fulton County Commission on Disability Affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls being diagnosed with bladder cancer

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis talks about her cystectomy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis recalls the 1996 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers her father's death

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers the transit accessibility issues in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes the federal lawsuit against the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers learning to drive while paralyzed

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her career at the Magistrate Court of Fulton County

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis reflects upon her judicial career

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her casework at the Magistrate Court of Fulton County

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes the Atlanta Women's Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her involvement at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her concerns for the African American community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis shares a message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Stephanie Davis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
The Honorable Stephanie Davis remembers her car accident, pt. 2
The Honorable Stephanie Davis describes her career at the Magistrate Court of Fulton County
Transcript
So tell me about the, the accident.$$Well, we were, it was about maybe eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock at night and we had decided to go to Lake Tahoe. And, I think the highway to Lake Tahoe is highway 80 [Interstate 80], so you'd go from Oakland [California] to San Francis- to Sacramento [California], the Sacramento area and at some point you, you go on highway 50 [U.S. Route 50]. Well, Marty Bennett [ph.], the guy who was driving the car, who had been a chef who had cooked the food at the party, I don't think was that familiar with getting to Lake Tahoe. And at some point we did not, we never made it to highway 50. He stayed on 80 and during this, in this part of California, it's near the California, Nevada border where the accident was, it's in Truckee, California, and it's in the mountains. And at the time we were really on our way to Reno [Nevada], rather than Lake Tahoe because he missed the turn for 50. At some point on the way up there, we stopped for gas and I got out and went to the restroom and got something to drink and then got back in the car and we were in a Toyota station wagon and had the--I had worked all week and was tired and the, in the station wagon, we had pushed the backseat down, and so I really was asleep. When I got back in the car, I was asleep in the back, and my boyfriend was asleep in the back and then Jenny [ph.], his sister, was in the passenger seat and Marty was driving. And at some point, I, I was awakened by the fact that the car was moving around, but wasn't sure what was going on because I was still kind of waking up out of a sleep and I just heard somebody say, "Oh no, oh no," and then the car stopped. And, I don't have a real concept of the time that elapsed in, in leaving the road, but we did flip over several times. We hit a guardrail and the guardrail had a fan at the end of it that ordinarily would keep a car from going off the road, but this one was bent in a certain way and the way the car hit it, it caused the car to flip over the guardrail and it flipped over several times and went down an embankment. And in the course of flipping over one of the times, when the car was on, was upside down, the latch on the back of the station wagon opened up and I was ejected from the car, wasn't in the seatbelt because I was lying down and so, I was out on the ground. At some point I woke up and people were around me saying, "It'll be all right." And I just was conscious that I was lying down but, and that had been in an accident, was really not aware of what had happened, was feeling a pain in my neck but was kind of in and out of consciousness. And so there was a period of time where I heard people around me saying everything was going to be okay, and then at one point I woke up again and I was in a hospital and they were asking me what my name was, and then I lost consciousness again, and I woke up again, I was in a hospital. Later found out that I had been taken to a small hospital in Truckee, California and I was, at that point, with Ralph [ph.], my boyfriend had had injury to his foot, and Jenny, who was in the front seat, had had, had her seatbelt on and had some abrasions on her chest from the seatbelt. I think it hit her chin on the dashboard. And Marty had not been injured. He said that there was a light from a truck that came by that caught him and he was temporarily unable to see, and that's why he lost control of the vehicle, but the three of us were asleep in the car, and I tend to think that maybe he was tired and fell asleep, too. He was not charged with anything.$So the lawsuit with MARTA [Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority] was in 2001.$$Um-hm.$$Okay.$$And, and just before that time, of course, I was still, had in mind, and Judge Thompson [A.L. Thompson] had in mind, appointing me to the magistrate court [Magistrate Court of Fulton County]. There was, he was waiting for a vacancy to--there were three full-time judges at the time and he decided not to wait and to appoint me as a part-time judge and that happened at the beginning of 2000. And so, I was called to court to preside over plea hearings at the jail where people who were convicted of misdemeanors had been in jail a sufficient amount of time and they were ready to take pleas. So I would go to the jail and hear calendars just to, to take their guilty pleas. At this point, the, the benches, the courtrooms that were used by magistrate court judges, none of them were accessible. The one lift that we had installed in the courthouse was in a courtroom that was occupied by a, another judge, and I could not use her courtroom. So here I am, after all these many years, advocating to try to get the benches accessible, it was actually my time to be a judge and the bench needed to be accessible for me. And I could not do anything in the courthouse until the courtroom that magistrate court used was accessible and, fortunately, the court administrator agreed that they needed to expedite ordering the lift for, at least one of the courtrooms that I would be using. And so, you know, I complained because I was only doing calendars at the jail, that was only one calendar and the bulk of the work was being done at the courthouse. So, by, I think by June of 2000, they had installed a ramp system that takes forever for county government to work to actually figure out what kind of lift to install, but they did have a ramp going up to the bench so I started doing the regular work of magistrate court by 2000, by the summer of 2000. And so then I was still part-time but they would call me in to do calendars, two and three days a week, and it was enough to get my, my foot in the door. I was doing criminal, first appearance calendars for misde- well, for all the cases that involved Fulton County police [Fulton County Police Department] and police from other jurisdictions. Atlanta [Atlanta Police Department] had their own court for, for first appearance hearings and then Fulton County [Superior Court of Fulton County] would hear the hearings for Fulton County police and all the other police departments that are in Fulton County, that would be the, all the university police departments and all the other cities in Fulton County. So I was doing those hearings, I was doing small claim court hearings. There's a child support calendar, the abandonment calendar. I was doing that calendar and on different days, I did, I had different calendars and finally there was a new position created, one judge had been appointed in that position before me and when she left to go to the state court [State Court of Fulton County], I was, been appointed a full-time magistrate in 2002. And I just had my five year anniversary as a magistrate court judge on September 11th of this year.