148th Earthday Tribute to the Honorable Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis


MONDAY – AUGUST 25, 2008

TRIBUTE TO LADY HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS

A MEMORIAL ON THE OCCASION OF LADY DAVIS’ 148TH EARTHDAY

L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)

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.

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

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.

Proclamation by Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon

Proclamation by Mayor Sheila Dixon designating August 25, 2009 “Henrietta Vinton Davis Day” in Baltimore, Maryland

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.

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IN ALL HER GLORY: The Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Grand Commander Of the Nile


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

Henrietta Vinton Davis from Women of distinction: remarkable in works and invincible in character. (Raleigh, N.C. : L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)

Henrietta Vinton Davis from Women of distinction: remarkable in works and invincible in character. (Raleigh, N.C. : L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)

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.

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