Congratulating Fred L. Davis on Receiving the 2014 Be the Dream Mlk Legacy Awardby Representative Steve Cohen
Posted on 2014-01-16
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Fred L. Davis on
receiving the 2014 Be the Dream MLK Legacy Award. This special award is
given to those individuals whose lives have ``embodied the spirit and
legacy of service, sacrifice and hope'' that characterized the work of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a businessman, public servant and a
leader in the Civil Rights Movement, it is fitting that this award be
bestowed upon Fred Davis in recognition of his accomplishments and
Fred Davis was born in Memphis, Tennessee on May 8, 1934, and graduated from Manassas High School in 1953 before graduating with a B.S. from Tennessee State University in 1957. Mr. Davis entered the Army after college and served two years in France. Soon after returning from the Army, he opened the Fred L. Davis Insurance Agency in 1967, becoming one of the first African-American insurance agencies in the South. He was the first African-American policy writing agent in six neighboring states and the first African-American member of the Independent Insurance Agents of America. In 1968, his insurance agency was appointed to represent the Hartford Group and has maintained the contract ever since.
In that same year, Fred Davis was one of three African-Americans elected to serve on the newly formed Memphis City Council. He was selected Chairman of the Public Works Committee and fought for sanitation workers during the Sanitation Strike of 1968. The strike, which brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, afforded Davis the opportunity to march with and stand alongside Dr. King as he delivered his ``I've Been to the Mountaintop'' speech at Mason Temple Church of God In Christ in Memphis.
In 1972, Davis became the first African-American to chair the Memphis City Council and was judged by black and white Memphians alike as fair and honest in his dealings. Davis also served as president of the Liberty Bowl, a beacon of pride for Memphis sports, making him one of the few African-Americans to head a major bowl in the U.S. He holds certifications in many areas of the insurance industry, including licenses in property and causality coverage, the Life Underwriting Training Council (LUTC) Certificate and a securities registered series seven with the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD). Mr. Davis is also a founding director and past president of the Mid-South Minority Business Council and a Certified Minority Vendor. In addition, he is an active member of Beulah Baptist Church, serving as a senior deacon and trustee.
Fred Davis has always supported me in my State Senatorial and U.S. Congressional races, and I am honored to know him as a successful businessman, a leader in the community for over half a century and a friend. A civil rights activist and defender of democracy for all, he has shown his dedication to the people of Memphis no matter their race. There is no doubt that his work is worthy of this award named after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Speaker, I ask all of my colleagues to join me in congratulating Fred L. Davis on being awarded the 2014 Be the Dream MLK Legacy Award.
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