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Davis, Benjamin Jeffersonlocked

(08 September 1903–22 August 1964)
  • Gerald Horne


Davis, Benjamin Jefferson (08 September 1903–22 August 1964), Communist party leader, was born in Dawson, Georgia, the son of Benjamin Davis, Sr., a publisher and businessman, and Willa Porter. Davis was educated as a secondary-school student at Morehouse in Atlanta. He entered Amherst College in 1922 and graduated in 1925. At Amherst he starred on the football team and pursued lifelong interests in tennis and the violin. He then attended Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1928. He was a rarity—an African American from an affluent family in the Deep South; however, his wealth did not spare him from the indignities of racial segregation. While still a student at Amherst, he was arrested in Atlanta for sitting in the white section of a trolley car. Only the intervention of his influential father prevented him from being jailed. As he noted subsequently, it was the horror of Jim Crow—the complex of racial segregation, lynchings, and police brutality—that pushed him toward the political left....

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