Charles Davis Papers
Scope and Contents
The inclusive dates of the collection are 1862-2004, but the bulk of the collection consists of NAACP materials from the early 1970s to 2001. Of special interest in the collection are the NAACP materials, and the social justice activities of Charles Davis, which span the years from 1958 to the present. Also of interest is a copy of a U.S. Air Force report (The Palomares Report) regarding the mid-air collision of a B-52 and a KC-135 during refueling operations over Spain on January 17, 1966. The B-52 was carrying nuclear bombs, and Charles Davis was involved in the recovery and cleanup operation following the accident. This collection should be interest to researchers of Civil Rights activities, community activism, or Mississippi politics.
- Creation: 1862-2004
- Davis, Charles L., 1943-2016 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Noncirculating; available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Biographical / Historical
Charles L. Davis, born on September 23, 1943, was reared in Hattiesburg, in Forrest County, Mississippi. In 1958, when he was in the 9th grade at Rowan High School, Medgar Evers, then Mississippi field secretary for the Mississippi National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), asked Davis (and Joyce Ladner, a sister of Dorie Ladner) to establish and share the leadership of the soon to be organized Forrest County NAACP Youth Group.
By 1962, Davis graduated from high school and enrolled at Dillard University in New Orleans. However, in 1963, he decided to join the Air Force. In 1964, when African Americans in Hattiesburg, were being refused the right to vote, he took a 30-day leave of absence from the Air Force. While in Hattiesburg, he went to register to vote, wearing his Air Force uniform. Under the direction of the Mississippi Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), the Student nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the NAACP, Davis also joined with other civil rights activist to test the 1964 Civil Rights Act. To this end, the group tried to gain entrance to various Hattiesburg hotels, motels, restaurants and public libraries but was refused entrance.
Upon the expiration of his 30-day leave of absence, he returned to the Air Force, where he was stationed in Spain. Upon his discharge from the Air Force in 1968, he returned to Hattiesburg, went to work for The University of Southern Mississippi as a janitor, but also worked for the NAACP, where he served in 1968 as the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee Chairman. In 1976, he graduated from William Carey College with a B. S. in History, and also worked to unify the Freedom Democratic Party and the Mississippi Democratic Party. In 1977, he took a job as the “Community Service Talk Show” host for WORV and WJMG radio, and in 1979, he accepted a position as an insurance salesman.
In 1985, as a member of the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee, he was active in the movement to reorganize Hattiesburg’s city government to the mayor/council plan, which elected city officials from within geographical districts. Similarly, in 1986, he worked to require district rather than at-large elections for the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, Justices of Peace, and Constables. From 1984 to 1988, he served on the Mississippi Democratic Platform Committee.
In 1992, he worked, in conjunction with the NAACP, on the reapportionment of the Southeast Mississippi legislative districts to increase African American representation. From 1993-1994, he began the work, which resulted in the replacement of grave makers for African American soldiers of the Confederacy at Mississippi’s Vicksburg National Military Park. In 1994-1995, he also succeeded in getting a wayside exhibit honoring Civil War African American soldiers set up on Ship Island, an island located in the Gulf of Mexico about 11 miles south of Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1997, when an Ellisville State School affiliated group home for the deaf, blind, and mentally retarded caught fire, Davis, an employee of the group home, saved the lives of the residents by leading them to safety. In 2003, in his capacity as the Chair of the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee, a position he has held since 1996, he organized a Non-Partisan Candidate Forum to discuss political issues.
In addition, Davis has also petitioned for the removal of the Mississippi state flag, opposed nuclear waste storage in the Richton and Cypress Creek Salt domes, worked for more funding for Medicaid and Welfare, run for political office, and campaigned for Democratic presidential candidates. Currently, Davis can be heard on Tuesday mornings on Soul 105.3 FM. A cursory look at Davis’ life reveals he has spent his life in the promotion of social justice.
8.50 Cubic Feet (total) : MC2/D11
Language of Materials
Materials documenting activities of African-American political activist in Hattiesburg,
Materials in the collection were generated and/or collected by Charles Davis.
Contents of the Collection.
Davis, Charles. Interview. July 8, 2004.
M377-2 Raymond Davis and Mary Louise Boyd Davis 3 3/4 X 3 (b & w) undated Mr. & Mrs. Davis are the parents of Charles Davis. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-3 Charles Davis 5 X 4 (b & w) March 28, 1943 The picture shows Charles Davis as an infant. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-4 Infant Charles Davis Trying to Stand 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) (photograph) ca. 1945-1946 The picture shows an unidentified person helping a very young Charles Davis to stand up at his grandfather's Hattiesburg, Mississippi, home. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-5 Charles Davis 4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1946 The picture shows a very happy Charles Davis at his grandfather's Hattiesburg home. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-6 Charles Davis and an Unidentified Child 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1946 The picture shows infant Charles Davis (standing in the forefront) with an unidentified child. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-7 Charles Davis and Cousin Gloria. 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1946 Charles Davis and his first cousin, Gloria Boyd. The photo was taken during a visit to Davis' Aunt Bessie Dudley and Aunt Ruth Boyd. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-8 Charles Davis at Grandfather's House 3 3/4 X 2 ½ (b & w) ca. 1945-1946 Charles Davis, the infant in the forefront, at his grandfather's Hattiesburg home with two unidentified children. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-9 Charles Davis and Mother 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1947 Charles and his mother are standing on the comer of Farley Street and 7th Street in Hattiesburg. The building in the background is a 'jib-joint," a beer hall. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-10 Infant Charles Davis with a Pensive Look 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1946 The picture shows young Charles Davis with three unidentified persons in the background. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-11 Infant Charles Davis Sitting in Wagon 2 3/4 X 3 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1946 Charles Davis is sitiing in a wagon at a neighbor's house on 7th Street in Hattiesburg. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-12 Infant Charles Davis and Friend at Grandfather's House 3 ½ X 2 ½ (b & w) ca. 1947 Charles Davis with an unidentified friend at his grandfather's Hattiesburg home. The home, one of the few African American owned homes in Hattiesburg in 1918, was built by a Boyd relative for $200 with lumber from the Newman Lumber Company. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-13 Young Charles Davis with Friends 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1947 Charles Davis, the person in the wagon with three unidentified persons at his boyhood home, 807 E. 7th Street, in Hattiesburg. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-14 Young Charles Davis in Grandfather's Backyard 3 3/4 x 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1946 Charles Davis in the backyard of his grandfather's home on 7th Street in Hattiesburg before his family moved to Ohio. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-15 Young Charles Davis and Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Revere 5 X 7 (b & w) ca. 1948 The picture shows Charles Davis with his stepfather, Raymond Revere, and his mother at their home in Ohio, where Revere was stationed at Lockbum Air Force Base. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-16 Young Charles Davis, Aunt Bessie, and Gloria 2 3/4 X 3 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1945-1946 Charles Davis with his aunt, Bessie Boyd Dudley, and his first cousin, Gloria Boyd, standing beside a car in the Harlem section of New York City. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-17 Young Charles Davis 5 1/2 X 3 (b & w) ca. 1946 Charles Davis standing in a wooded area. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-18 Young Charles Davis and Friend 4 X 3 (b & w) ca. 1947 Charles Davis (on the left) and an unidentified friend. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-19 Young Charles Davis' Birthday Party 8 X 10 (b & w) ca. 1948 Charles Davis' birthday party at the home of his mother and stepfather in Ohio. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M265-20 Young Charles Davis' Birthday Party 8 X 10 (b & w) ca. 1948 Charles Davis surrounded by guests at his birthday party in the Ohio home of his mother and stepfather. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-21 A Bow-Tied Charles Davis 3 3/4 X 2 3/4 (b & w) ca. 1948 Charles Davis as a young child dressed up and wearing a bowtie. (Box 1, Folder 9)
M377-22 Young Charles Davis' Birthday Party 8 X 10 (b & w) ca. 1952-1954 Charles Davis (the eighth child from the left in the second row from the top) at his "community" birthday party, a party of Hattiesburg children from Mobile Street, E. Woods Street, the Park, and Graveline. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-23 Young Charles Davis and Trixie 3 X 2 1/2 (b & w) ca. 1953-1954 Charles Davis with his dog, Trixie, who disliked cats. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-24 Charles Davis at Eureka Elementary School 4 ¾ X 3 1/2 (b & w) ca. 1953-1954 Charles Davis "School Days" picture taken at Hattiesburg's Eureka Elementary School. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-25 Charles Davis at Eureka Elementary School 2 3/4 X 4 1/2 (b & w) ca. 1954-1955 The Eureka Elementary "School Days" picture contains three identical views of Charles Davis. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-26 Mother, Son, and Others at Jones County Fair 5 X 3 1/4 (b & w) ca. 1954-1956 The picture, taken at the Jones County Fair in Laurel, Mississippi, depicts Charles Davis' mother (front row on the left), Charles Davis (front row on the right), and four unidentified people. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-27 Charles Davis at W. H. Jones Junior High School 3 X 2 (b & w) ca. 1958-1959 Charles Davis "School Days" photo at Hattiesburg's W. H. Jones Junior High School. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-28 Charles Davis Graduates from Junior High School 3 ¼ X 2 (b & w) ca. 1959 Charles Davis in cap and gown for graduation from William H. Jones Junior High School in Hattiesburg. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-29 Charles Davis Graduates from Rowan High School 4 ½ X 3 1/2 (b & w) ca.1962 Charles Davis in cap and gown for graduation from Rowan High School in Hattiesburg. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-30 Charles Davis 3 X 2 (b & w) ca. 1968 Charles Davis in a kneeling position. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-31 Charles "Santa Claus" Davis 7 X 5 (b & w) ca. 1974-1975 Charles Davis playing Santa Claus in the cafeteria on the campus of William Carey College. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-32 Charles Davis Graduates from William Carey College 3 ½ X 3 1/2 (b & w) ca. 1976 Charles Davis in cap and gown for graduation from William Carey College. Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-33 Charles Davis Graduates from William Carey College 3 ½ X 3 1/2 (b & w) ca. 1976 Charles Davis with his first cousin, Doris Johnson, on the occasion of his graduation from William Carey College. Two unidentified people are also in the photograph. (Box 1, Folder 10) M377-34 Two Neighbors Standing by a Volkswagen 3 1/2 X 4 1/2 (color) ca. 1980 The picture shows two·men engaged in conversation, standing by a yellow Volkswagen. (Box 1, Folder 10)
M377-35 Ruth Boyd and Friends 4 1/4 X 6 1/4 (b & w) ca. 1940's Charles Davis' maternal aunt, Ruth Boyd (the znd person from the right), with three unidentified people at Cafe Zanzibar in the Harlem section of New York City. (Box 1, Folder 1)
Genre / Form
- Art original.
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.).
- Filmed interviews.
- Fliers (Ephemera).
- Legal forms.
- Programs (Publications).
- Records (Documents).
- African Americans.
- Air Force.
- Civil rights workers -- Mississippi.
- Civil rights.
- Financial documents.
- Government publications.
- Hattiesburg (Miss.) -- History -- 20th century.
- Legal research.
- Military discharge.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- Political campaigns.
- Race relations.
- Radioactive waste repositories.
- Radioactive wastes.
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
- Charles Davis Papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001