MONDAY – AUGUST 25, 2008
TRIBUTE TO LADY HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS
A MEMORIAL ON THE OCCASION OF LADY DAVIS’ 148TH EARTHDAY
10:00AM Prayer Service at National Harmony Memorial Park
1:00PM Program at Brown Memorial Church
5:00PM 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 the maiden voyage Black Star Line flagship SS Frederick Douglass, she was the ranking member of the UNIA and the Black Star Line as it carried its cargo worth upwards of $5,000,000.
After leaving Jamaica where she continued supporting Garvey, she returned to the USA in 1938. There she joined the UNIA, Inc. headquartered in NY city. After some time 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.