Black History Month Charlotte Spotlight: Reverend Dr. William H. Davenport
In honor of Black History Month, we have turned the spotlight to the arts to represent Charlotte natives that are making a positive impact on both our culture and our city today.
Reverend Dr. William H. Davenport, son of Mack and Phyllis Davenport of New Bern, NC matriculated at Livingstone University in Salisbury, NC, and worked on the college newspaper there. He was a minister, editor, teacher, and general officer of the church. Dr. Davenport and Nena Ray Davenport (my great aunt) had a nice brick home located in Charlotte NC off (1223) Beatties Ford Road in the Washington Heights area. They were one of the distinguished African Americans living in the area. Dr. Davenport had a special study built for him so he could do his work from home.
Dr. Davenport preached for some time and was pastor at St. Mark’s AME Zion Church in Durham, NC during the 1920s. In 1924, he became the editor of the Star of Zion newsletter up to his death in 1936. Before he was elected by the general conference to become an editor of the Star of Zion, Davenport had a teaching career. According to the late Mabel Ray Littlejohn, Davenport had to find a church to preach during the Depression because the company of the newsletter was not paying him. According to the late William Ray, a bishop assigned Davenport to a church in Charlotte, NC.
This way Davenport could still make a living even though other church officials were receiving their pay. After the Great Depression was over, he went back to work on the Star of Zion, but the company did not retro his back pay. He often traveled to different AME churches, and after he finished preaching a sermon at a church in Greensboro, NC in May 1936, he fell ill and passed away. This information can be found in a family narrative that was published in the Spartanburg County Genealogy Periodical.
-Written by V101.9 Listener