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Collection Title: Davis (Charles) Papers

Collection Number: M377

Dates: 1862-2004

Volume: 3.6 cu. ft.

Provenance: Materials in the collection were generated and/or collected by Charles Davis

Donor: Donated by Charles Davis between 1999-2004

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).


Charles L. Davis, born on September 23, 1943, was reared in Hattiesburg, in Forrest County, Mississippi. In 1958, when he was in the 9th grade at Rowan High School, Medgar Evers, then Mississippi field secretary for the Mississippi National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), asked Davis (and Joyce Ladner, a sister of Dorie Ladner) to establish and share the leadership of the soon to be organized Forrest County NAACP Youth Group.

By 1962, Davis graduated from high school and enrolled at Dillard University in New Orleans. However, in 1963, he decided to join the Air Force. In 1964, when African Americans in Hattiesburg, were being refused the right to vote, he took a 30-day leave of absence from the Air Force. While in Hattiesburg, he went to register to vote, wearing his Air Force uniform. Under the direction of the Mississippi Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), the Student nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the NAACP, Davis also joined with other civil rights activist to test the 1964 Civil Rights Act. To this end, the group tried to gain entrance to various Hattiesburg hotels, motels, restaurants and public libraries but was refused entrance.

Upon the expiration of his 30-day leave of absence, he returned to the Air Force, where he was stationed in Spain. Upon his discharge from the Air Force in 1968, he returned to Hattiesburg, went to work for The University of Southern Mississippi as a janitor, but also worked for the NAACP, where he served in 1968 as the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee Chairman.
In 1976, he graduated from William Carey College with a B. S. in History, and also worked to unify the Freedom Democratic Party and the Mississippi Democratic Party. In 1977, he took a job as the “Community Service Talk Show” host for WORV and WJMG radio, and in 1979, he accepted a position as an insurance salesman.

In 1985, as a member of the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee, he was active in the movement to reorganize Hattiesburg’s city government to the mayor/council plan, which elected city officials from within geographical districts. Similarly, in 1986, he worked to require district rather than at-large elections for the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, Justices of Peace, and Constables. From 1984 to 1988, he served on the Mississippi Democratic Platform Committee.

In 1992, he worked, in conjunction with the NAACP, on the reapportionment of the Southeast Mississippi legislative districts to increase African American representation. From 1993-1994, he began the work, which resulted in the replacement of grave makers for African American soldiers of the Confederacy at Mississippi’s Vicksburg National Military Park. In 1994-1995, he also succeeded in getting a wayside exhibit honoring Civil War African American soldiers set up on Ship Island, an island located in the Gulf of Mexico about 11 miles south of Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1997, when an Ellisville State School affiliated group home for the deaf, blind, and mentally retarded caught fire, Davis, an employee of the group home, saved the lives of the residents by leading them to safety. In 2003, in his capacity as the Chair of the Forrest County NAACP Political Action Committee, a position he has held since 1996, he organized a Non-Partisan Candidate Forum to discuss political issues.

In addition, Davis has also petitioned for the removal of the Mississippi state flag, opposed nuclear waste storage in the Richton and Cypress Creek Salt domes, worked for more funding for Medicaid and Welfare, run for political office, and campaigned for Democratic presidential candidates. Currently, Davis can be heard on Tuesday mornings on Soul 105.3 FM. A cursory look at Davis’ life reveals he has spent his life in the promotion of social justice.


Contents of the Collection.
Davis, Charles. Interview. July 8, 2004

Other Finding Aids:

Box and Folder List
Photograph Log

Related Collections:

M345 Adams (Victoria Gray) Papers
AM2000-63 Ladner (Dorie Ann) Collection
M334 Wade (Daisy Harris) Papers

Scope and Content:

The inclusive dates of the collection are 1862-2004, but the bulk of the collection consists of NAACP materials from the early 1970s to 2001. Of special interest in the collection are the NAACP materials, and the social justice activities of Charles Davis, which span the years from 1958 to the present. Also of interest is a copy of a U.S. Air Force report (The Palomares Report) regarding the mid-air collision of a B-52 and a KC-135 during refueling operations over Spain on January 17, 1966. The B-52 was carrying nuclear bombs, and Charles Davis was involved in the recovery and cleanup operation following the accident. This collection should be interest to researchers of Civil Rights activities, community activism, or Mississippi politics.

Box and Folder List

Box 1  
Folder 1 Biographical and Personal Materials 1993; undated
Folder 2 Hattiesburg’s Beginnings—An African American Perspective October 31, 1980
Folder 3 Charles Davis’ Baby Book 1943
Folder 4 Charles Davis’ American Legion School Award May 20, 1959
Folder 5 Charles Davis’ Rowan High School Diploma May 28, 1962
Folder 6 Dillard University Student Handbook ca. 1962
Folder 7 Charles Davis’ William Carey College Diploma August 8, 1976
Folder 8 Charles Davis’ Artifacts ca. 1943-1945; undated
Folder 9 Photographs 1943-1948; undated
Folder 10 Photographs 1952-1980
Box 2  
Folder 1 Various Davis Writings 1987-1997; undated
Folder 2 Various Correspondence 1975-1996
Folder 3 Davis Radio Scripts ca. 1976-1984
Folder 4 Vicksburg National Military Park July 9, 1862-February 27, 1995; undated
Folder 5 Ship Island June 10, 1863-March 28, 1995; undated
Folder 6 Flag Removal Petition February 4, 2001; undated
Folder 7 Hattiesburg Flood-Related Materials September 18, 1979-May 9, 1997
Folder 8 Hattiesburg Sub-Standard Housing undated
Folder 9 Opposition to Nuclear Waste Storage in Mississippi October 27, 1984; undated
Folder 10 Petition Against $3.5 Million Recreation Bond Issue 1992
Folder 11 Request for Southern District Public Defender 1993-1996
Folder 12 Mid-Delta Empowerment Zone Alliance (MDEZA) Grant undated
Folder 13 Hattiesburg-Related Materials 1989-2001; undated
Folder 14 Garbage Cans 1990-undated
Folder 15 Initiative and Referendum 1991-1992
Folder 16 Mississippi Coalition on Block Grants 1997-1998
Folder 17 Select Committee on Indigent Health Care undated
Folder 18 Medicaid-Related Materials 1983-1987
Folder 19 Medicaid-Related Materials 1983-1987
Folder 20 Medicaid-Related Materials 1987-1988
Folder 21 Medicaid-Related Materials 1990; undated
Folder 22 Medicaid-Related Materials 1990-1995
Folder 23 Welfare-Related Materials 1994; undated
Box 3  
Folder 1 Southeast Mississippi Community Action Agency ca. 1980-1985
Folder 2 Mississippi Alliance of State Employees 1991-1997
Folder 3 Mississippi Alliance of State Employees 2004
Folder 4 Mississippi Minority and Women Business Enterprises March 1987
Folder 5 Mississippi Veterans Affairs Commission – Veterans Service Officer List May 1996
Folder 6 Collective Bargaining Calendar For the Southeast 1973
Folder 7 Miscellaneous Materials 1990-1995; undated
Folder 8 Newspaper Clippings 1991-1995; undated
Folder 9 Political Activism Materials 1994; undated
Folder 10 Project LEAP undated, 1994-1995
Folder 11 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Materials undated
Folder 12 NAACP Materials 1979-1992
Folder 13 NAACP Materials 1993-1995
Folder 14 NAACP Materials 1996-2000
Folder 15 Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet of the NAACP (Forrest County Branch) May 6, 1978
Folder 16 Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet of the NAACP (Forrest County Branch) May 21, 1980
Folder 17 Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet of the NAACP (Forrest County Branch) April 30, 1982
Folder 18 80 Years Later. “The Struggle Continues.” April 28, 1989
Folder 19 Forrest County Branch of the NAACP April 18, 1998
Folder 20 Forrest County Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. April 24, 1999
Box 4  
Folder 1 89th NAACP Annual Convention (Atlanta, Georgia) July 11-16, 1998
Folder 2 36th Annual Convention Mississippi State Conference NAACP (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) November 5-7, 1981
Folder 3 53rd Annual Convention Mississippi State Conference NAACP (Tupelo, Mississippi) November 5-7, 1998
Folder 4 54th Annual Convention Mississippi State Conference NAACP (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) November 11-13, 1999
Folder 5 Voter Empowerment Training, Participant’s Manual 2000
Folder 6 Count Me In: NAACP Voter Empowerment Manual undated
Folder 7 Political Materials 1981-1999
Folder 8 Jesse Jackson Presidential Campaign 1984, 1988
Folder 9 Bill Bradley Presidential Campaign 2000
Folder 10 Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State 1996-2000; undated
Folder 11 The Voting Rights Act of 1995, As Amended 1965
Box 5  
Folder 1 Census Report, Southern United States 1983-1984
Folder 2 Forrest County, Mississippi, Voting Precinct Caucuses ca. 1984
Folder 3 Forrest County Redistricting and New Registration 1972-1973
Folder 4 Forrest County Voter Re-Registration 1985
Folder 5 Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, Voter Re-Registration 1985
Folder 6 Forrest County Precinct Listing undated, 1994-1995
Folder 7 Washington County Voter Re-Registration 1985; undated
Folder 8 Bill to Amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act 1991
Folder 9 Election Results—Marion County, Mississippi 1988, 1992
Folder 10 Various Election Results in Mississippi 1988-1996
Folder 11 Mississippi Legislature—General Materials 1988-1991
Folder 12 Mississippi Legislature—General Materials 1994-2000
Box 6  
Folder 1 Congressional Black Caucus Press Release January 19, 1978
Folder 2 Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Book I (4th Annual Legislative Retreat) August 29, 1998
Folder 3 Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Book II (4th Annual Legislative Retreat) August 29, 1998
Folder 4 Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Book IV (4th Annual Legislative Retreat) August 29, 1998
Folder 5 Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus (Part 1) (5th Annual Legislative Retreat) October 30, 1999
Folder 6 Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus (Part 2) (5th Annual Legislative Retreat) October 30, 1999
Folder 7 Democratic Party of Mississippi 1974-1988; undated
Folder 8 Democratic Party of Mississippi 1989-2000
Folder 9 Democratic Party of Mississippi 1989-2000
Folder 10 Democratic Party of Mississippi 2003-2004
Box 7  
Folder 1 African-American History (General) 1976-1995; undated
Folder 2 Videos: “Black Civil War History” January 30, 1994“Mississippi Window Interview, Charles Davis January 21, 1997
Folder 3 African-American Participation in Civil War Battles undated
Folder 4 A Pilot Teaching Project on The Farish Street Historic District 1975
Folder 5 Vernon Dahmer 1991-1995; undated
Folder 6 Profile of Mississippians By Race 1984
Folder 7 Eureka-Royal-Rowan School Reunion (EURO) 1978; undated
Folder 8 Eureka-Royal-Rowan School Reunion (EURO) 1996; 1999
Folder 9 St. Paul United Methodist Church 1984-1997
Folder 10 Mrs. Regina King December 4, 1999
Box 8  
Folder 1 Palomares Report (part 1) (p. 1-114) January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 2 Palomares Report (part 2) (p. 115-239) January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 3 Palomares Report (part 3) (p. 240-371) January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 4 Palomares Report (part 4) (p. 372-512) January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 5 Palomares Report (part 5) (p. 513-566) January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 6 United States Air Force (USAF) Reports and Records of the Palomares Incident January 17-April 7, 1966
Folder 7 Charles Davis’ USAF Honorable Discharge September 15, 1969
Folder 8 Charles Davis’ Veterans Administration Claims Record 2000
Oversize Materials
Oversize Folder 1
Item 1 Lackland Airforce Base Commemorative Pillow Cover
Oversize Folder 2
Item 1 Charles Davis' Certificate from the Life Underwriter Training Council July 1, 1979
Item 2 Poster: Elect Charles L. Davis House of Representatives 103 (2 copies) undated
Item 3 Poster: Vote for Troy Brown U. S. Senator Democrat undated
Item 4 “Oakes House” (drawing) undated
Item 5 Voter Registration Summary Report by Precinct for Holmes County, Mississippi March 13, 1997
Item 6 Voter Registration Information for Wards 2, 4 & 5 of Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1997
Item 7 Banner News April 23-29, 1993 September 15, 2000
Item 8 Congressional Redistricting 1991
Item 9 Materials Regarding African American Confederate Soldiers undated
Item 10 60 Second NAACP Sign-Up (poster) undated
Item 11 Clarke County, Mississippi, Map undated
Item 12 October 1, 1990 Census Data Map of Mississippi Counties with more than a 50% Black Voting Age Population October 1, 1990

Accession Number: AM05-12

Dates: ca. 1955-1965; 1984

Provenance: Mr. Charles Davis

Volume: 2 items

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

1. One 8 x 10 black and white photograph taken in the New York City apartment of Charles Davis' aunt, Mrs. Bessie Dudley, circa 1955-1965. The apartment was in Northern Harlem. Pictured in the photograph are Bessie Dudley and her husband Charlie Dudley, Gloria Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond Smith, and an unidentified female friend (possibly an artist). Gloria Boyd was also Mr. Davis' aunt. Mr. Hammond Smith owned Smith's Drug Store in Hattiesburg, and was one of the city's most prominent African American businessmen. The photographed became damaged over time, and Bessie Dudley's face has been almost obliterated.

2. One copy of the funeral program for Mrs. Gloria Ruth Lamar Boyd, September 16, 1984. The program contains the order of service and Mrs. Boyd's obituary.

Accession Number: AM05-14

Dates: ca. 1940 - 2002

Provenance: Mr. Charles Davis

Volume: .45 cu. ft.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

An assortment of materials relating to the life and activities of Mr. Charles Davis, including a photograph album in which Mr. Davis and various members of his family are pictured. A container list follows.

Davis (Charles) Papers
Container List

1. Campaign Materials: Davis vs. Holloway (1993)
2. City of Hattiesburg: Ordinance Changing Form of Government from Commission to Mayor-Council (1984)
3. Democratic Party of Mississippi (1984 - 2002)
4. Election Materials (1992)
5. Farish Street Historical District: Jackson, Mississippi (1940; 1994)
6. Fifth Congressional District: Democratic Party Executive Committee (1988)
7. Hattiesburg Redistricting Plans (2002; undated)
8. Mississippi Minority Business Directory (1987)
9. Monuments for Black Soldiers in Vicksburg National Military Park (1988 - 1994)
10. Newspaper: Banner News (May 6, 1993)
11. Newspaper: Hub City News (Jan. 23 & Sept. 11, 1986)
12. Public Defender System of Mississippi (1994 - 1995)
13. Public Hearing on Land Use Code: Hattiesburg, Mississippi (1987)
14. Rally Against "Contract with America" (1995)
15. St. Paul United Methodist Church Historical Committee (ca. 1994 - 2001)
16. Universal Life Insurance Company: Silver Anniversary Souvenir Booklet (1948)
17. Miscellaneous Items (ca. 1991 - 1999)
18. Photograph Album

Accession Number: AM06-53

Dates: circa 1926 - 2006

Provenance: Given by Charles Davis

Volume: .45 cu. ft.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

Photographs, newspapers, family materials, community action documents, and other items pertaining to the background and activities of Mr. Charles Davis. A container list is attached hereto.

Davis (Charles) Papers
Container List

City of Hattiesburg: Community Development (1974-1991)
Congressional Redistricting (2000)
Delta State University: Workshop Application (Nov. 2000)
Democratic Party (2000; 2004; undated)
Eastern Star (1949; 1983)
Family Papers (1926-1984)
Forrest County Voters Rights Suit: Names on Court Order (undated)
Freedom Summer Poster, “Courage to Act” (2004)
Green Thumb Original Home and Garden Club Year Book (1989-1990)
Jackson State University: Fannie Lou Hamer Lecture Series (Oct. 1, 1997)
Larry L. Davis (1948; undated)
Margaret Walker Alexander Research Center (1993-1994)
Mary Louise Boyd Davis Revere (1942-1991)
Medicaid (1989; undated)
Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus (1995)
Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, Book III (Aug. 29, 1998)
Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus (2001)
NAACP (1978; 1991; undated)
New Day Coalition (2002)
Newsletter: The Informer (July 1990)
Newspaper: Banner News (Oct. 16, 1992)
Newspaper: Hub City Community News (Jan. 2 & Feb. 27, 1986)
Newspaper: South Mississippi Weekly (Sept. 16, 1982)
Photographs (2 folders)
Ramon A. Revere (1948)
Report: “Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi – One Year Later (2006)
Request for Handicap Ramp at Downtown Hattiesburg Post Office (Apr. 2002)
Resolution of Hattiesburg City Council Opposing Reduction of State Legislature (1990s)
Rev. James D. Randolph, Sr. (1982; undated)
761st TK. BN. and Allied Veterans Association 52nd Reunion (Aug 28 – Sept. 3, 2000)
South Central Bell Rate Increases (1994)
Miscellaneous items (1990-2004)




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