Gift preserves rare history

Frank W. Davis Sr. was an ordinary man.

He ran a business, raised a family and was dedicated to his church and his Masonic lodge, said his granddaughter, Josie Davis, who was 5 when he died in 1948 at age 86. She remembers a few details, such as he used to wear a leather cap and jacket, exercised after retiring by walking daily to downtown and his favorite hymn was “I’ll Fly Away.”

“He would sit me on his lap and sing that to me,” said Josie Davis, 66, of Rocky Mount.

Now, she is sharing her grandfather with the world. A ceremony held Thursday at Braswell Memorial Library honored her family for donating a collection of Davis’ personal and family papers to the J.Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University.

The collection of 131 items, whose contents span from 1876 to 1955, includes books, pictures and documents from Davis’ business, organizations he was involved in and his children’s education, said Maury York, assistant director for special collections at Joyner Library.

The items may not sound special, but they are significant because they are primary source materials from the black community in the late 19th and early 20th century, York said. Read More: The Rocky Mountain Telegram

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