Nnamdi Azikiwe






-Proclamation recognizes cultural icon-

Washington, DC –The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation announced today that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has proclaimed August 25, 2008 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’ The designation comes on the day the Foundation plans to unveil a marker at Miss Davis’ grave in National Harmony Park located in Landover, Maryland. The Foundation plans to host a memorial service at the grave site that day at 10:00 A.M.

The decree acknowledges Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878 before Frederick Douglas. The proclamation also recognizes Miss Davis’ significance as a cultural icon. She made her debut in her career as an actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and impressionist in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by the then Recorder of Deeds, Frederick Douglas.

Furthermore, the proclamation 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.

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, as well as, Vice President of the Black Star Line. On the maiden voyage of the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 to the Caribbean, Davis was the ranking member of both the UNIA and the Black Star Line.

About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation

Initially organized to raise funds merely to place a marker at the grave and to the legacy 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.

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Dav

L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)


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