Mayor Sheila Dixon has proclaimed August 25, 2009 as “Henrietta Vinton Davis Day” in Baltimore.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
AUGUST 25, 2009 is HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS DAY
-Events to recognize cultural icon-
Washington, DC –Today the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation announced plans to host Livication Day 2009. The Foundation has as its mission to raise awareness of the life and legacy of Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and activist Henrietta Vinton Davis.
Miss Davis remained relatively unrecognized until July 1983 when an article entitled “Henrietta Vinton Davis and the Garvey Movement” by Professor William Seraille was published in the journal ‘Afro-Americans in New York Life and History’. Nearly a year later, acknowledgment of her contributions increased with the publication of the book ‘Shakespeare in Sable’ written by Professor Errol Hill of Dartmouth University. In 1994, actor Clayton LeBouef received a commission to write a play on her life entitled ‘Shero: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis.’ Her home in Northeast Washington, DC has been listed on Cultural Tourism DC’s African American Heritage Trail since 1999.
In 2008, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a proclamation designating August 25 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’ The designation furthers the Foundation’s efforts to raise awareness of Miss Davis’ life and garner funds to place a marker at her grave. The decree issued in 2008 acknowledges Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878, before Frederick Douglas was appointed Recorder. The proclamation also recognizes Miss Davis’ significance as a cultural icon. She made her career debut as a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and impressionist in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by Douglas, a family friend.
The proclamation also acknowledges the success of Miss Davis as a public speaker. During 1919, a year remembered for its “Red Summer,” she joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey.
The Livication Service will be conducted at her grave site located in National Harmony Memorial Park 7101 Sheriff Road Largo, MD (phone:301-772-0900). on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. Other activities are also in the planning stages.
About Henrietta Vinton Davis
For thirty-five years after her debut performing “Shakespearean delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings with her own performing company, and local troupes throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Henrietta Vinton Davis broke new ground as a successful theatrical artisan in the United States. Her dedication to her craft gained her recognition as the first African American “woman of the stage.”
As a leader of the African Redemption Movement beginning in 1919, Davis made use of her acting skills to promote the aims and objectives of the UNIA. Her ability to “transport her listeners” to another place with her oratorical skills played a key role in both attracting members to the organization and promoting the Black Star Line Shipping Company. As such, she was elected to numerous positions including International Organizer, and Third Assistant President General of the UNIA. Additionally, as Vice President and a Director of the Black Star Line. Davis was the de facto authority aboard the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel, the S.S. Yarmouth, on its maiden voyage. The ship was laden with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 destined for the Caribbean. On the ship’s return Marcus Garvey proclaimed Miss Davis “the greatest woman of the [African] race today” in a meeting at the UNIA’s Liberty Hall.
About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
Initially organized to raise funds solely to place a marker at the grave of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis in 2005, the mission of The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation has evolved to include educating the general public on her life by producing plays, publishing books, producing documentary videos and conducting symposiums educating the general public about her life and the times in which she lived.
SHINE ON, ETERNAL LIGHT
Tune — “Hamiltonia”
words and Music by ARNOLD J. FORD
Shine on, Eternal Light
To greet our souls this day;
Dispel the gloominess of night
And drive our doubts away.
Our longing eyes prepare
When war and strife shall cease,
To view the morn soon to appear;
The “New Era” of Peace.
Thy Temple O our God,
No kingdom can remove,
Made without hands, this blest abode,
The Harbinger of Love.
Of all the gifts that flow
From Thy great throne above,
We ask Thee on our hearts bestow
The gift of “Perfect Love.”
My soul the Light receives
And dares the Truth to prove,
Not in blind ignorance believes,
But knows that God is love.
Come Love, and give new birth
To man’s destructive mind.
Spread where confusion reigns on earth
Good-will to all mankind.
Shine on, Eternal Light,
Thy penetrating ray
Shall turn the hour of darkest night
Into Eternal Day.
MONDAY – AUGUST 25, 2008
LADY HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS
A MEMORIAL ON THE OCCASION OF LADY DAVIS’ 148TH EARTHDAY
10:00AM Livication Service at National Harmony Memorial Park 7101 Sheriff Road Largo, MD 20792
3:00PM -6:00PM Program at Martin Luther King Library room A-4
7:00PM Rally at UNIA Liberty Hall
Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis
Shakespearean Actor, Elocutionist, Dramatic Reader, UNIA International Organizer, Black Star Line Vice President
Henrietta Vinton Davis born August 25, 1860 Baltimore, Maryland, joined the ancestors on November 23, 1941 in Washington, DC.
An only child, her father, Mansfield Vinton Davis was a musician who passed away when she was very young. Her mother Mary Ann Davis married influential Baltimorean George Alexander Hackett. Hackett passed away when Davis was 9 years old. She and her mother then moved to Washington, DC.
Davis schooled in Washington until the age of 15. She became a schoolteacher in Maryland. Eventually, she went to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds in 1878 before Frederick Douglass.
Her desire for a theatrical career inspired her to study under Miss Marguerite E. Saxton. April 25, 1883 Miss Davis was introduced in her debut as an actor by Frederick Douglass. For over thirty-five years she was the premier African-American woman of the stage performing “Shakespearean Delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings throughout the USA, Caribbean and Central America.
In 1919 her career took a dramatic turn when Lady Davis joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey. Initially chosen as International Organizer, she eventually held positions as Assistant President-General and Vice-President of the Black Star Line. On Black Star Line flagship SS Frederick Douglass’ maiden voyage, she was the ranking member of the UNIA and the Black Star Line as it carried its cargo worth upwards of $5,000,000 to Cuba.
After leaving Jamaica where she continued supporting Garvey, she returned to the USA. There she joined the UNIA, Inc. headquartered in NY city. In 1934 she was elected President-General of that group.
At the age of eighty-one she joined the ancestors. Having been divorced, without children of her own and livicating her life to bettering the condition of her people, she was buried in Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C. without a marker for her grave.
The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
Giving Campaign Donation Form
Yes! I want to donate to the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation! Please complete this form, print it out, and enclose it with your payment,
payable to: The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
Mail to: The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
C/O The Mhotep Corporation
P.O. Box 43583
Washington, DC 20010
Name (as you wish listed): _________________________________________________________________________
City, State, ZIP Code: _____________________________________________________________________________
Phone number: __________________________________________________________________________________
E-mail address: __________________________________________________________________________________
I would like to support the Foundation as a/an:
q Benefactor ($25,000 and above)
q Vanguard Circle donor ($10,000 to $24,999 or more)
q Pacesetter ($5,000 to $9,999)
q Patron ($2,500 to $4,999)
q Elder’s Circle donor ($1,000 to $2,499)
q Gold Founder ($500 to $999)
q Silver Founder ($250 to $499)
q Bronze Founder ($150 to $249)
q Founder ($100 to $149)
q Associate ($50 to $99)
q Contributor ($25 to $49)
q Other $_____________
Amount enclosed: $_______________________________________________________
Is your donation being made in memory or in honor of someone special? If so, please complete the following:
q In Memory of: ________________________________________________________
q In Honor of: __________________________________________________________
Please send an acknowledgment card to:
City, State, ZIP Code: _____________________________________________________
I’m making a gift by q Check q Money Order
The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service. All contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Thank you for your support!
REPORT FROM THE UNIA HIGH COMMISSIONER TO GHANA
June 10th 2008 was a “Great Garvey Day” as the UNIA-ACL High Commissioner Nana Prempeh met with Ambassador DR. Erieka Bennett, Head of The Diaspora African Forum Mission in Accra, Ghana. Dr. Bennett is also the Diaspora representative from Ghana to the AfricanUnion (AU) and was on her way to the AU Conference now taking place in EGYPT.
The definition of Diaspora – according to the African Union is as follows:
The UNIA High Commssioner in Ghana discussed with Dr. Bennett her upcoming input at the AU meeting and she assured him of a briefing upon her return. Ghana, under President Koffour is an active participant in the AU. Dr. Bennett informed the UNIA High Commissioner of some current historic moments in Africa. In February of this year Nana Kweku Primpa Kalachuri II, her son, was en-stooled in the village Bono Manso, in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. The People of Bono Manso have dedicated 25 Acres of Land to the Ancestral Memory of African American Heroes and Heroines.
UNIA-ACL High Commissioner to Ghana Nana Prempeh recently visited the historic site.and noted that it is the poeple of this area who have built these monuments to our ancestors with the hope of enlightening the youth about the greatness of our race.
The site consist of 4 monuments & allocated Land. 10 Acres for the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey + pedestal & Bust; 5 Acres for El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) + pedestal & Bust; 5 Acres for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. + pedestal & Bust; Coretta Scott-King & Rosa Parks have pedestals with full color pictures; 5 Acres for our Ancestral Kings and Queens of West Africa.
The UNIA-ACL in Ghana intends to continue building on the Garvey Site. On Sunday August 17TH, 2008 the UNIA & ACL in conjunction with the Caribbean Association and the Rastafarian Association along with the African American Association of Ghana – will have a “Great Garvey Day” celebration at Bono Manso site. At that time we will raise the “Red, Black, and Green” flag of the UNIA and the Ghanaian national flag with the Black Star of Garvey, since this is the only site in Ghana with a monument to the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey.
The UNIA in Ghana has also proposed to build a Garvey Hall to house a Museum, Book-brary, as well as a Gift Shop & Restaurant. Monuments to Amy Ashwood & Amy Jacques Garvey are also in the plans.
IN ALL HER GLORY: The Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Commander Order of the Nile
“WE MUST CANONIZE OUR OWN SAINTS, CREATE OUR OWN MARTYRS AND ELEVATE TO POSITIONS OF FAME AND GLORY BLACK WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE MADE THEIR DISTINCT CONTRIBUTION TO OUR HISTORY.” AFRICAN FUNDAMENTALISM BY MARCUS GARVEY
The Honorable Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis was a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader, and public speaker. She was proclaimed by Marcus Garvey to be “the greatest woman of the [African] race”. She is currently lying in an unmarked grave in National Harmony Memorial Park in Largo, Maryland. The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation is committed to increasing the general public’s awareness and erecting a memorial to the life and legacy of the Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Commander Order of the Nile. In addition to raising funds for a fitting memorial to her life, we also intend to sponsor performances of a play entitled “Shero: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis” written by Actor Clayton Lebouef, produce a biopic on her life and publish her biography. Hopefully, after reading this brief synopsis of her life you too will be inspired to add your name to the list of those who consolidated their resources in order to bestow a fitting memorial upon her. Nothing less is due a woman of her stature.
The Holy Piby Speaks of Henrietta Vinton Davis
In the Holy Piby Henrietta Vinton Davis is identfied as one of the “Apostles” apointed to “to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall” with Marcus Garvey and Robert Lincoln Poston.
Therefore, Athlyi yielded him a copy of the map, and declared Marcus Garvey an apostle of the Lord God for the redemption of Ethiopia and her suffering posterities.
THE THIRD BOOK OF ATHLYI NAMED
THE FACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Now when Marcus Garvey, God’s foremost apostle, heard the voice of his colleague, apostle Robert Lincoln Poston, preaching in the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, he knew that this was his colleague for the lord God hath revealed, notwithstanding the three apostles had met in the spirit before they came to administer the law Gospel for the full salvation of Ethiopia’s posterities.
Now when the amalgamation of their apostleship was verified, apostle Poston came to New York City, United States of America, and then teamed with apostle Garvey in the work for the redemption of Ethiopia and her trodden posterities, whom through the oppression of the nations and the ignorance of the Negro ministers of Christian faith, were hanging over the bridge of death, both body and soul.
“Moreover, behold at thy side is the noble woman Henrietta in whom the whole heaven adore because of her greatness of faith and the loyal way in which she fights to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall. Place her at the side of thy colleague, for great is her wisdom, saith the Lord, and send ye also another that they go and prepare a home for mine anointed.”
Historians study the past with its emphasis on personalities and events. Sometimes the great doers of past decades are remembered. More often, men and women of achievement, while important in their own times, are overlooked by historians. Such a person is Henrietta Vinton Davis who made a name for herself not only as a major elocutionist but as a leading exponent of Marcus Garvey’s “race first” concept.
Davis, who was born in 1860, was the daughter of Mansfield Vinton Davis, a talented musician, and Mary Ann (Johnson) Davis. As a young woman, she studied under Marguerite E. Saxon of Washington, D.C., Edwin Lawrence of New York City, and Rachel Noah of Boston, where she attended the Boston School of Oratory. During her late teens she taught school in Maryland and Louisiana. In 1878 she became the first black woman to be employed by the Office of the Recorder of the Deeds in the nation’s capital. It was in this capacity that she met Frederick Douglass who held the position of Recorder from 1881 to 1886.1 Continue reading