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.
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.
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.