As a Sister of Charity, Angela Davis taught at St. Martin de Porres school in Lincoln Heights. She returned to her hometown of Washington D.C. in the late ‘60’s. For several summers, she returned to Xavier to complete her Master’s degree. She met Bob Davis and decided to marry him. In 1970 they moved to Davenant Ave.
Mrs. Davis was a devoted teacher. She thoroughly enjoyed teaching and pupils were glad to be part of her classroom. She taught 4th grade Math and Science at Kennedy school. She was impressed with the Kennedy Heights parents who were quite involved in the school. People were friendly, children were eager to learn. In 1974, she often had 6-7 students come to her home and pile into her car to go to school. Now, she says, that would get her into big trouble. At the time, it was a joyful experience; students were interested and ready for school. It was like being part of a big family.
Since there was no library at the school, teachers asked parents for their help. Prior Elder Series interviews with Polly Reading, Mary Wolfe and Jeannette Bronson related the efforts in making that a reality. Many books were donated and each day the books were set up and taken down to make room for other activities.
Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) had a plan to integrate student and teachers to a certain ratio so Mrs. Davis was sent to Hyde Park school in 1974. The Kennedy Heights community was not pleased with that decision and successfully petitioned for her to return to Kennedy school. She was asked by the Kennedy Heights community to apply for the principal position. Kennedy school was closed in 1980. Mrs. Davis moved to the Silverton school as part of the agreement with CPS. She retired in 1994.
Staying away from school was not an option she entertained for long. Angela now could be found at Woodford school, volunteering daily where her grandson was attending. The principal, Susan Sharp, offered that if she was going to be at school, why not be a long term substitute teacher? End of first retirement. When Ms. Sharp moved to Schiel, which predated the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Mrs. Davis moved with her to write a grant for a No Child Left Behind program, helping bring children up to grade level in reading. She administered that program for seven (7) years.
Angela has had, and continues to have, an active volunteer life. She was on the initial Development Board for Kennedy Heights, the KH Urban Redevelopment Board. She actively volunteers at Nativity School where her grandchildren attend. The Advocates for Youth Education (AYE) is an important organization for her. For twelve (12) years she has been involved in the Hamilton County chapter. It awards 15 scholarships each year for college bound students, providing them with $2500-$3500 to help in paying for books, transportation, etc. An awards ceremony is held in the Spring for the honorees. A past recipient, who is a lawyer and teaches at the University of Indianapolis, has started a chapter there.
Mrs. Davis co-founded an aftercare/prayer ministry at Nativity. Once a month for a year, she sends a card to people who have had a significant illness or have a member of their family die. She believes having someone walk beside them through the difficult times is an important outreach.
Angela currently volunteers in the neighborhood helping her daughter, Teresa Mulligan, the President of the KH Development Board. In fact, as she recalls all the effort that her husband, Bob, gave to the community, she believes Teresa is following in his footsteps. Bob was the President of the Council in 1975-76.
She notes that the neighborhood is a winner with residents who were raised in the community. Some have moved into their childhood home after their parents died and others have purchased their own homes. Angela is glad to see the spirit of Kennedy Heights continued.
What action does she suggest for residents? “Have a party for your new neighbors and meet each other.” And, “In order to maintain a vibrant community, be willing to be involved.”
Angela’s hope is that Kennedy Heights continues to be integrated. One way is to encourage friends to live in the neighborhood by showing them houses for sale. She knows of several people on her street who recently have done that. It’s a win-win for the sellers, the buyers and the neighborhood. It’s important that Kennedy Heights continues to be a welcoming place for all.
Interviewed by Christine Schumacher, February 9, 2016
Presented to KHCC, April 19, 2016