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Davis, Darryl L. Art Collection
MC 101  
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: Sacramento Public Library
    email: sacroom@saclibrary.org
    phone: (916) 264-2795
    Title: Darryl L. Davis Art Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MC 101
    Physical Description: 11 Sheets
    Date: 2016
    Abstract: Collection contains 11 pieces of two-dimensional art depicting both figures and events in the African American history of Sacramento, California.
    Language of Material: English .

    Biographical / Historical

    Darryl Lee Davis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Kentucky. From the earliest age he recalls his mother noticing his natural ability for art, stoking that talent with love and encouragement. After serving a stint as an illustrative draftsman in the United States Navy, Davis went on to attend college in Kentucky and California.
    Over the years, Davis has utilized lead, charcoal, water color, and pastel to express himself, but feels most at home with the use of dryer lint. His lint and mixed media creations have been lauded by Public Broadcasting System affiliates (KET) and various print outlets (Tri-State Defender) in the Ohio River Valley. He currently has lint-based work hanging in the University of Kentucky's Lucille Little Caudill Fine Arts Library (Buffalo Soldiers in Spanish Style Hats), and the Kentucky Artisan Center (Isaac Murphy, an homage to one of the Kentucky Derby's finest jockeys).
    Now a resident of Sacramento, Davis has grown to embrace California, both as a home and subject for artistic expression. His love of history was showcased in 2016 in a nine-piece display that captured and celebrated the African American experience in Sacramento: Tapestry: A History of Sacramento's African American Community.

    Scope and Contents

    Collection contains 11 two-dimensional pieces of art. All are held in Mylar sleeving and housed in a single 24-inch by 31.5-inch acid-free folder. Pieces, their historical context, and medium are provided as follows:
    1. T. Allen Harvey. One sketch in charcoal; 18-inches by 24-inches. Missouri-born T. Allen Harvey came to Sacramento in 1916 to head the St. Andrews African American Methodist Church at 715 Seventh Street. That same year he became the first president of Sacramento's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In July 1918, Harvey won the city's first anti-discrimination suit against a restaurant that refused to serve him and a fellow pastor. With the country's entry into World War I, he eagerly encouraged members of his congregation at Oak Park's Zion AME Church to volunteer for service while going on to found Sacramento's first African American soldiers club at 3401 Second Avenue, known as the Crispus Attucks Soldiers and Sailors Club. In running for City Commissioner in April 1919, Harvey told the Sacramento Union, referencing the long odds before him, that as "a colored man…I was at San Juan Hill with Colonel Roosevelt and when those Spanish bullets were flying round we were all Americans. It should be the same today."
    2. Tom Thumb Wedding. One mixed watercolor painting; 18-inches by 24-inches. The Tom Thumb Wedding, a 1920s fad whereby mock weddings were held involving just children, is the subject of this watercolor. The four boys rendered were extracted from an image of a 1926 Tom Thumb that was hosted at the St. Andrews African American Methodist Church at 715 Seventh Street.
    3. Elizabeth Thorne Scott. One sketch in pencil; 6-inches by 8-inches. Elizabeth Thorne Scott opened her Sacramento home in 1854 as a private "school for children of 'African descent,'" effectively making it the first of its kind in Sacramento. It wasn't until 1856 that a sum of $150 dollars was appropriated by the city's Board of Education for the education of African American children with those funds coming from the assessed value of property owned by minorities. By that time, however, Scott married and moved to San Francisco where she established a school dedicated to meeting the needs of all minority children.
    4. Sarah Mildred Jones. One sketch in pencil; 6-inches by 8-inches. The first African American teacher hired by the City of Sacramento was Sarah Mildred Jones. Her charge, started in 1874, was Ungraded School No. 2, located at Ninth and P streets. Her salary – lower than that of her white peers – was $85 a month. By 1880, section 1662 of California's Political Code was amended to provide for the full integration of public schools. Nearly 15-years after that, and based on her "demonstrated abilities" and "qualifications," Jones was hired as the first African American women to become principal of an integrated school in Sacramento – Fremont Elementary School, located at Twenty-Fourth and N streets. Beloved by students and colleagues, Jones retired in 1914 after 40 years of teaching.
    5. Nathaniel Colley. Two sketches in pencil; 9-inches by 12-inches; 18-inches by 24-inches. Alabama-born Nathaniel Sextus Colley was Sacramento's first African American attorney. After graduating from the Tuskegee Institute in 1941, he served with the U.S. Army in the Solomon Islands during World War II. After returning home, he applied for law school at the University of Alabama, but was turned down because of his skin color. He was quickly accepted at Yale Law School where, three years later, he would graduate with honors. In 1948, he quickly embarked on a legal career in Sacramento that was accented by efforts to seek both fair housing and the integration of area neighborhoods. He was later appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the Committee on Discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces while also spending his later years as a law professor at McGeorge Law School. Upon his passing in 1992, the Sacramento Bee referred to Colley as a "nationally recognized NAACP attorney known for his eloquent and courtly demeanor, legal acumen and tenacity in fighting for the underdog."
    6. Jim Beckwourth. One sketch in pencil. 6-inches by 8-inches. James Pierson Beckwourth, son of slave mother and white aristocratic father, mountain man, Crow warrior chief, and associate of Jim Bridger, Jedidiah Smith, and Sacajawea's son Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, was one of the most influential settlers in the early exploration of California. The Virginia-born trailblazer created Beckwourth Pass, a low elevation portal through the Sierra Nevada range that shaved 150-miles off journeys to the gold fields from the East, preventing treacherous travel along grades like Donner Pass.
    7. Frank Mason. One sketch in pencil; 9-inches by 12-inches. Sergeant Frank Mason came to Sacramento in the immediate wake of the First World War to promote the purchase of Liberty Bonds to help pay for the war. Mason was injured by shrapnel and gas while serving in France and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his bravery. He is credited with raising hundreds and thousands of dollars in bond sales nationwide, including $200,000 within Sacramento alone. His rich baritone singing voice and flare for comedy were key in wowing crowds from Woodland to Sacramento's Plaza Park. He also served with the famed 10th Cavalry and General John Pershing in the Mexican Border War (1910-1919).
    8. Eldridge Cleaver. One sketch in pencil; 9-inches by 12-inches. In October 1968, Eldridge Cleaver – Black Panther Party leader and presidential candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party – was invited to participate in a symposium on "Racism in America" at Sacramento State College. His 75-minute address was delivered at Hornet Stadium to a crowd of 10,000 which heard Cleaver call for the nationalization of PG and E and AT and T and declared that "it is better to have a system of anarchy than to have a system of repression." After the talk, one young faculty member of the school's Department of History, Gregg Campbell, stated that the speech was "a painful and shattering experience," but maintained that it had a salutary effect "in forcing white liberals to examine their own hypocrisies and neat expectations."
    9. Cornel West. One sketch in charcoal; 18-inches by 24-inches. Dr. Cornell West was raised in Sacramento. After graduating from south Sacramento's John F. Kennedy High School, he went on to attend both Harvard and Princeton, earning a PhD in philosophy in 1980. Professor West has written and edited several books, including his seminal "Race Matters" in 1993. He is also a television and radio personality, speaking on topics from LGBTQ rights to climate justice.
    10. Huey P. Newton. One sketch in pencil; 11-inches by 14-inches. Artistic rendering of photograph of Newton sitting in rattan chair with rifle and spear. Dr. Huey Percy Newton was born in Louisiana and came to Oakland, California, with his parents in the 1940s. He, along with Bobby Seale, were co-founders of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense which, in 1966, organized under the philosophy that violence may be a necessary tool to achieving social and economic justice with Newton acting as the group's Minister of Defense. Under Newton's leadership, the group gained international acclaim, highlighted by an invitation from, and visit to, China in 1970. Newton's connection to Sacramento is highlighted by the Black Panthers' storming of the California State Capitol on May 2, 1967, to protest an anti-gun bill. He was also a scholar, earning a doctorate in social philosophy from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Sacramento Public Library must be submitted in writing to sacroom@saclibrary.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Sacramento Public Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.