America’s Uncrowned Queens: Dedicated to the Heroic, Toiling Black Woman


America’s Uncrowned Queens:
Dedicated to the Heroic, Toiling Black Woman
by Drusilla Dunjee Houston

October 26, 1917 – Black Dispatch
Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society

‘Neath a weary load upon dusky head,
Upon American streets is the tread
Of an uncrowned type of heroine,
Their labors untrumpeted and unseen.
It to her helpmate, life chance is denied
With undaunted courage, she stems the tide,
Meets some of homes needs, help make it fair;
That he may find a kingship there.

When manhood is shackled, into its place
Nature oft forces a courageous race
Of women, who with heroic spirit,
Stamp within unborn children the merit
Denied their fathers.  For what man’s disdain
Keeps from one generation, the next will gain.

We see them in rain, in cold and the heat,
As they pass us with patient, toil worn feet.
Behind some great universities wall
It is the boy or girl for whom she gives all
Sometimes the more sacrificial her fire
The less we praise it, the more we require.

Whipped with the lash, until the reddened stain,
Of her life blood ran from opening vein,
In slavery’s hour, this type was true
To virtue.  Today life’s way they pursue
As heroically.  No scorn or slight
Can change her ideals, she sees aright;
That duty done, in higher worlds will mean
That she will be more than an uncrowned queen.

The Lady Vanishes: Meet Henrietta Vinton Davis-one of the most amazing women you’ve probably never heard of | Baltimore City Paper


This article tells the journey of three men: their discovery of “The Shero of Our Story,” the lack of a marker on her grave, and the founding of the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation to rectify that historical oversight.

The Lady Vanishes: Meet Henrietta Vinton Davis-one of the most amazing women you’ve probably never heard of | Baltimore City Paper.

Front Page article on Henrietta Vinton Davis in the City Paper


The Lady Vanishes

Clayton LeBouef has a very clear memory of when he first encountered Henrietta Vinton Davis. It was 1992, not long before he won the role of Baltimore Police Col. George Barnfather in TV’s Homicide: Life on the Street. LeBouef was a Washington, D.C.-based actor performing in a CenterStage production of Shakespeare’s little-produced Pericles. Rehearsals were over, and opening night loomed.

Plaque mounted on former residence of Henrietta Vinton Davis


Plaque on the former residence of Henrietta Vinton Davis

A Shero’s Journey: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis


Program for “A Shero’s Journey: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis”

Women’s History Month exhibit honors Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis


Below are a few photos of the exhibit reviewing the life of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC.

A Shero’s Journey: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis


On Sunday March 14, 2010 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm a Livication program will be conducted at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library honoring Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis.

Livication


There is no marker on the grave of the woman Marcus Garvey called the greatest woman of the African race, Honorable Lady Henriertta Vinton Davis. The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation honors her annually with a livication ceremony at her gravesite every year.

Liv-i-ca-tion n.
1.the act of livicating or being livicated.
2.A note or inscription prefixed to a work of literary, artistic or musical composition bestowing gratitude upon someone in token of affection or esteem.
3.A rite or ceremony of livicating.

Livicate v.
1.To set apart for divine or spiritual purposes and uses.
2.To focus one’s thought or actions on life and living.
3.Complete and wholehearted devotion to life, career, ideal, etc.
4.A Rastafarian vocabulary term meaning “to bring to life.”

Livication 2009


PRESS RELEASE

4/9/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:

Nnamdi Azikiwe

202-483-6097

email: info@ladydavis.org

website: http://www.ladydavis.org

blog: http://henriettavintondavis.blogspot.com

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.

A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton

A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Livication tribute to Henrietta Vinton Davis part 1