Every day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with Phillys7thWard.org and Citizen Ed, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer. But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History MonthFebruary is just the Blackest.

Today, our featured Black Educator is Dr. Julia Davis.

Julia Davis was born on November 20, 1891 in St. Louis, Missouri. A lifelong educator, Dr. Davis dedicated her life and career to the education of Black children and increasing their knowledge of Black history.

Dr. Davis was educated in St. Louis Public Schools, attending Dumas Elementary School and Sumner High School. For college, she attended Stowe Teachers’ College (later Harris-Stowe University)—an HBCU. She received a Master of Arts in Education from the State University of Iowa, and continued graduate studies at Lincoln, Boston, Northwestern, St Louis, Syracuse and New York Universities.

Dr. Davis served as an educator in St. Louis Public Schools for 48 years.

At a time when many school curricula ignored the cultural and historical contributions of African Americans, Dr. Davis made those contributions a central part of her lessons in American and world history. A historian, Dr. Davis initiated a series of annual exhibits at the St. Louis Public Library featuring African American history and culture. Beginning in 1941. She also published several of her own works, including Negro and African Literature and Culture: A Bibliography (1971).

Dr. Davis was a leader in the academic community, serving on the National Education Association Committee on Teacher Education and Professional Standards, as secretary for the St. Louis branch of the Association for Childhood Education, and was active in several other educational organizations.

When she retired from teaching in 1961, Dr. Davis donated $2,500 (almost $20,000 in today’s dollars) to establish the Julia Davis Fund at the St. Louis Public Library, giving the library the money to purchase books about African American achievements, growing into the Julia Davis Collection, which today houses more than 3,000 works.

Dr. Davis’ dedication to Black education and Black literacy is a model for all educators. We must continue this legacy of committing to teaching Black History and Black literacy using culturally relevant materials in our communities. 

Dr. Julia Davis; a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.

For more information on Julia Davis, visit the following site.


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