World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Clifford Davis (politician)

 

Clifford Davis (politician)

Clifford Davis
Davis in 1962
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 9th district
In office
February 14, 1940 – January 3, 1943
Preceded by Clift Chandler
Succeeded by Jere Cooper
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by Jere Cooper
Succeeded by George Grider
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by E. H. Crump
Succeeded by District eliminated
Personal details
Born (1897-11-18)November 18, 1897
Hazlehurst, Mississippi
Died June 8, 1970(1970-06-08) (aged 72)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater University of Mississippi School of Law

Clifford Davis (November 18, 1897 – June 8, 1970) was a Democratic U.S. Representative from Tennessee from 1940 to 1965.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Public service 2
  • Congress 3
  • Defeat 4
  • Legacy 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8

Early life

Davis was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, moving to Memphis with his parents at age 14. There he completed the high school curriculum of the public schools, and in 1917 he completed law school at the University of Mississippi. In 1918 he was admitted to the Tennessee bar.

Public service

In 1923, Davis became a city judge in Memphis, serving in this post until 1927. From 1928 until 1940, Davis served as vice mayor and Commissioner of Public Safety. He became a close associate of Memphis political "boss" E. H. Crump. Davis was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and with the direction of Crump he administered a police force that was 70% KKK.[1] The result was relatively unquestioned violence against black residents of Memphis.[1][2]

Congress

In 1940, the seat for the 10th Congressional District, which included Memphis, came open after three-term incumbent Clift Chandler was elected mayor of Memphis. Crump arranged for his colleague Davis to receive the Democratic nomination for the post. In those days, the Democratic nomination was tantamount to election in most of Tennessee (except for heavily Republican East Tennessee). Davis won the special election and took office on February 15, 1940. Davis was elected to a full term in November of that year and was reelected eleven times. His district was renumbered as the 9th District after Tennessee lost a district in the 1950 Census.

Crump died in 1954, but many of his supporters remained in office for years afterwards. In fact, Davis was re-elected five times after Crump's death. During this time, Davis served as chairman of the House Special Committee on Campaign Expenditures, a group which was charged with attempting to find a legal way to control the influence of money on politics and looked into the beginning of what became, many years later, became the system of campaign finance reform that started to be implemented after the Watergate scandal.

Davis was one of five Representatives shot on March 1, 1954, in the U.S. Capitol shooting incident when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the visitors' balcony into the chamber of the United States House of Representatives. Davis was shot in the leg, but was not seriously wounded.

Defeat

The Memphis area became much friendlier to Republicans in the 1960s, in part due to a massive crossover of white voters from the Democrats. As evidence of this growing influence, Davis barely held onto his seat in 1962, defeating his Republican challenger, former city councilman Ed Davis, by only 1,200 votes. This was particularly shocking considering that he had been unopposed for reelection two years earlier.

In 1964, Davis lost the August Democratic naval officer and fellow attorney. Unlike Davis, Grider had no past ties to the Crump machine. Davis did not return to Memphis full-time, but maintained a residence in Washington, D.C. where he resumed the practice of law until his death. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis.

Legacy

The Clifford Davis Federal Building in Memphis was named after him. As of May 2, 2007, the "Clifford Davis Federal Building" is designated the "Clifford Davis and Odell Horton Federal Building."

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Honey, Michael K. (2007). "A Plantation in the City". Going down Jericho Road the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign (1. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Norton. p. 11.  
  2. ^ Wright, Sharon D. (2000). "The Crump Machine and Black Memphis". Race, power, and political emergence in Memphis. New York [u.a.]: Garland Publishing. p. 33.  

Sources

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clift Chandler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 9th congressional district

1940–1943
Succeeded by
Jere Cooper
Preceded by
E. H. Crump
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 10th congressional district

1943–1953
Succeeded by
District eliminated
Preceded by
George Grider
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 9th congressional district

1953–1965
Succeeded by
Jere Cooper
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.