October 14, 1902 William Boyd Allison Davis, educator, anthropologist, and researcher, was born in Washington, D. C.
Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree as class valedictorian from Williams College, earned his Master of Arts degree in English in 1925 and Master of Arts degree in anthropology in 1932 from Harvard University, and was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1942.
In 1948, Davis became the first African American to become a tenured professor at a major white university when he joined the Department of Education at the University of Chicago. Davis was known for groundbreaking field studies such as “Children of Bondage” (1940) and “Deep South” (1941) which used anthropological techniques to explore how race and social class influence education and learning among children.
Davis died November 21, 1983 and, in 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in his honor.