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Myrtle Davis

Pharmacist and veteran city council member Myrtle Reid Davis was born on October 9, 1931 to Emmalee Reid, a teacher, and Carl Reid, a postal worker. Davis was raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she attended Emmett School Elementary and High School. After graduating from high school in 1949, Reid went on to attend Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she pursued her B.S. degree in pharmacy.

In 1953, Davis was hired at the Queens City Pharmacy in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1956, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she was hired by the Triangle Prescription Shop. That following year, she was married to activist and local physician, Dr. Albert M. Davis.

Throughout the 1960s, Davis served on the boards of numerous Atlanta based organizations including the League of Women Voters of Fulton County, where she served as president. She also served on the board of directors for the Gate City Day Nursery Association, and in 1970, she was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Atlanta Urban League. In 1979, Davis was hired by Leadership Atlanta where she worked as co-executive director for ten years.

In 1981, Davis ran for public office and was elected as a member of the Atlanta City Council. During her tenure on the Atlanta City Council, Davis served as chair of the Human Resources Committee, the Water and Pollution Committee and the Community Development Committee. Davis also served for five years as chair of the Finance Committee. Then, in 1994, after Maynard Jackson decided to leave his post as mayor, she became a candidate for mayor of the City of Atlanta. She later became the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, Davis retired from city government as water utility manager for the City of Atlanta.

Davis’ other affiliations include the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the National Board of Girl Scouts, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Task Force for the Homeless and the City of Atlanta’s Board of Ethics.

Davis lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two daughters, Judge Stephanie C. Davis and Stacey Davis Stewart. Stephanie is a judge in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County, and Stacey is the senior vice president of Fannie Mae.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.037

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Davis

Schools

Emmett Scott School

Xavier University of Louisiana

First Name

Myrtle

Birth City, State, Country

Rock Hill

HM ID

DAV22

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Walgreens

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Treat Others As You Would Want Them To Treat You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/9/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Pharmacist and city council member Myrtle Davis (1931 - ) was a city councilwoman for the City of Atlanta, Georiga. She also ran for mayor of the city in 1993. Davis served as the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, she retired from city government as the City of Atlanta's Water Utility Manager.

Employment

LaBranche’s Drug Store

Queen City Pharmacy

Triangle Prescription Shop

Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Myrtle Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis remembers segregation in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls segregation in Rock Hill, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her college education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mentors during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her childhood aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her social life during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis recalls her preparation for college

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis talks about her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers the start of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls the entertainment of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis remembers her arrival at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis remembers the leadership of Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her activities at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her classes at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her professors at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her internship at LaBranche's Drug Store in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about Mardi Gras

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her graduation from Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her first impressions of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis recalls how she met her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis remembers the community on Auburn Avenue during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her mother's civil rights activism in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes segregation in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers the Peyton Wall in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes the Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers the events of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls joining the League of Women Voters of Atlanta-Fulton County

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences of discrimination in the medical field

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes the integration of the medical industry in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis describes her role at the Gate City Day Nursery Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis talks about her work for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis remembers her involvement with her daughters

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her role in the Leadership Atlanta program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her older daughter's car accident and rehabilitation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her younger daughter's college application process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers her campaign for Atlanta City Council

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her time on the Atlanta City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her campaign for the mayoralty of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon the mayoral leadership of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis remembers the support for her mayoral campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her role at the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her civic involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith
Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
Now, you talked a little bit about church and your parents [Emmalee Williams Reid and Carl Reid] being Presbyterian, what church did your family attend?$$They were Presbyterians; both were very active in the church. And let me tell you how the whole intrusion of the whole--how Catholicism started in my life. My father got sick and went to St. Philip's Hospital [Rock Hill, South Carolina] and was--which was a Catholic hospital. And, of course, he had daily visits from, from the Chaplin there at the hospital who was a Catholic priest. And this Catholic priest was telling him about his plans to build a new Catholic church in the colored section of town which was Saint Mary's [Saint Mary Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. And that he needed someone to, to be an organist and asked him if he knew anybody. So my father said, "Well, my, my, my daughter Myrtle [HistoryMaker Myrtle Davis] plays. Maybe she would play for you." So he asked me if I wanted to do it and I said, "Well, sure, I'll do it." But, what my father used to do, we used to go to the 9:30 Mass and I would play and he would be outside waiting for me to take me to the Presbyterian church. Well, as time went on, and we did that for a long period of time where every Sunday morning he would take me to play at the Catholic church and then we would go to the Presbyterian church. Then it got to the point where I really liked the Mass and the Catholic church. And, they were a little bit disappointed I guess that I did not wanna continue in the Catholic church, but certainly they said it was my decision to make. My, my father said, "You're already female and you're already colored, why do you wanna add another thing to your, your life, another misery to your life to become Catholic as well?" But I hadn't looked at it like that. But there at that time, of course, in Rock Hill, South Carolina there were very few Catholics. There was one Catholic church, Saint Anne's [Saint Anne Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina] and, of course, St. Mary's was developed when I was in, in high school [Emmett Scott School, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. But, that was the whole motivation for my changing in, in religion from one to the other.$$How old were you?$$Well, I was actually, when I became interested in it, I was probably was fourteen, fifteen years old. When I actually was baptized or taken into Catholic church, it was my freshman year in college [Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana].$$Okay. What was the name of the Presbyterian church?$$It was Hermon Presbyterian Church [Rock Hill, South Carolina].$$Okay, and the Catholic church again?$$St. Mary's.$$St. Mary's.$$Uh-huh.$$And so, you went through the religious instructions to be confirmed and first communion and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right, that's right. Actually, what happened was I had taken instructions at St. Mary's before I went to college, and I didn't finish. Well, when I came back my freshman year, was when I had my--when I was taken into the church. My confirmation took place in New Orleans [Louisiana] because I was a sophomore in college and it was occurring at the St. Louis Cathedral in, in New Orleans and they had a confirmation class. And that's where I was confirmed.$Now let's talk more about your husband. You get married and he's a very prominent physician, tell me about your husband and--'cause he's involved in a lot of different organizations and things here in Atlanta [Georgia] so tell me about some of his doings here in Atlanta (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, well he was, and particularly leading into the Civil Rights Movement. My husband was truly an activist. And I think if anybody had--if he'd had his, his--he made his own decisions about what he wanted to be I think he would have--first of all, he would have been a foot, football, football or basketball coach. He loved sports. But, in addition to that, he was truly a social activist. He became involved in, in causes and he was very active during, during the student movement [Atlanta Student Movement]. Supported the students entirely. He helped them get out of jail, he got out and picketed with them and so he was, he was that kind of person. I can remember one night in particular when he and [HistoryMaker] Dr. Clinton Warner and someone else went down to the old Heart of Atlanta Motel [Atlanta, Georgia], and they took bags and in the bags they had just packed towels, you know. They were gonna check into the Heart of Atlanta Motel because it was one of the places that, you know, just refused to open up. So they went down and, of course, they were arrested. So he did have--he had that streak of rebellion in him. I mean, he, he--there was, there was this need to, to make things better and he was gonna be a part of it. I mean, he--there was hardly a time that he ever sacrificed being out of his office but when something came up that he had to attend to that had a civil rights' nature to it, I mean, he was involved in that. There was a group of men who met on a regular basis to strategize and to support the students. And some of those people included Jesse Hill and--I'm trying to think of some of the early leaders in there but they were a lot of people on the Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] campus, professors on the--many doctors, folks who, whose certainly livelihood did not depend on, on jobs. I mean, they--there jobs were not threatened as a result of the actions that they took. But Albert [Davis' husband, Albert Miles Davis] continued to be active, he also became president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and served in that capacity. In fact, I think he was serving as president of the NAACP when, when Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated. I mean, with it came a lot of--well, lot of things to respond to at the time, I mean, other than the student unrest and meeting with the downtown business people about opening up businesses. And he and Sam Williams [Samuel Woodrow Williams], who was--Sam Williams was a pastor of Friendship Baptist Church [Atlanta, Georgia], were very instrumental in meeting with the Atlanta school board to help integrate the schools. So he was very much involved in all of the integration efforts going on at that time.$$Now, after you marry, you no longer work at the--as a pharmacist?$$I worked for a while, I worked until possibly I was carrying Stephanie [HistoryMaker Stephanie Davis] and I stopped after a while during my pregnancy.$$I'm sorry, I meant to ask you about your husband. You mentioned the Guardsmen [National Association of Guardsmen].$$Um-hm.$$What group was that?$$It, it's a social organization that still exists. But they started a, a chapter here in Atlanta and there were about thirty guys who got together and established an Atlanta chapter. And what it was, it was truly a social club but they had entertainment at the various cities where each chapter was located. It still goes on this way about four times a year. And, of course, the Atlanta parties were the parties that, that people liked to go to 'cause it was a, really a good time.$$