Davis, Griffith J., 1923-1993

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Photojournalist, diplomat, and film maker from Atlanta, Georgia.

From the description of Griffith J. Davis Photographs and Films, 1947-1991 and undated. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 41150190

Griffith Davis was born on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia April 18, 1923. He was introduced to photography during high school. After serving in WWII, Davis returned to Atlanta where his photojournalism career flourished as he worked while at Morehouse College for the Atlanta Daily World, Time, and Ebony, who authorized him to do a photojournalism spread on his sister's high school, the Palmer Memorial Institute, a private boarding school in North Carolina. Davis' journalistic career introduced him to many political and cultural players of the time, including Langston Hughes, who was one of his earliest mentors. Davis received his M.A. in journalism from Columbia in 1949, the only black student in the program. As a journalist for the Black Star photo agency, New York Times, Ebony, and many other publications, Davis traveled in the United States, Africa, and Europe during the forties and fifties. In 1952 the Republic of Liberia sponsored Davis' one-man show "Liberia, 1952," at the American Museum of Natural History, and the years that followed he produced three documentary films including one narrated by the then unknown actor Sidney Poitier. In 1952 he also joined the Foreign Service, spending most of his time advancing Truman's Point 4 program for foreign aid (later USAID), chiefly in Liberia. He also served in Tunisia and Nigeria, and retired in 1985. In 1993, Morehouse College awarded Davis the Bennie Trailblazer Award, named for his former mentor and president of Morehouse, Benjamin Mays, for personal and professional achievements.

From the guide to the Griffith J. Davis Photographs and Films, 1947-1991 and undated, (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cooper, Ann Louise Nixon, 1902-. Ann N. Cooper collection, 1922-1956. Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Central Library
creatorOf Griffith J. Davis Photographs and Films, 1947-1991 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Atlanta University Center (Ga.). Atlanta University Photographs. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
creatorOf Davis, Griffith J. Griffith J. Davis Photographs and Films, 1947-1991 and undated. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977. person
associatedWith Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University) corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta University Center (Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, Ann Louise Nixon, 1902- person
associatedWith Ganta United Methodist Mission. corporateBody
associatedWith Harley, George W. (George Way), 1894-1966. person
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. person
associatedWith Liberia Mining Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Palmer Memorial Institute (Sedalia, N.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Tubman, William V. S., 1895-1971. person
associatedWith Woodruff, Hale, 1900-1980. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
North Carolina
Liberia in motion pictures
United States
African American poets
Masks, African
African American diplomats
African American authors
African American artists
African Americans--Education (Secondary)


Birth 1923-04-18

Death 1993-07-22




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