In Memoriam: Lenwood G. Davis, 1939-2020

Lenwood Davis, professor emeritus of history at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, died on May 18, 2020, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He was 81 years old.

Dr. Davis grew up in Beaufort, North Carolina. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at North Carolina Central University in Durham. After serving in the United States Army he earned a Ph.D. at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Dr. Davis did postgraduate research at the University of Ghana in Africa and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Dr. Davis began his career as an instructor of history at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. After teaching at Portland State University in Oregon, in 1978, Dr. Davis joined the history department faculty at Winston-Salem State University. He retired from teaching in 2015.

Professor Davis authored or edited many books, most of which were biographies of individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Joe Louis, and Marcus Garvey. Other published works included a history of Winston-Salem State University (Arcadia, 2000) and African Americans in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County: A Pictorial History (Walsworth Publihing, 1999).

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  1. Dr. Linwood Davis was a North Carolina Central University “Eagle” who developed his skills unto a recognized professional who wrote and shared our history. His writings and love of mankind will be remembered.

  2. Lenwood Davis was a gentlemen and a prolific scholar. History was his life and he spent his entire professional life teaching, researching, promoting and writing it. Few historians published more than Dr. Lenwood Davis. Over the past several years, we spoke once a month. I knew he had serious health issues –he told me – but he “never” complained. I’ll miss his energy and love for History and for his beloved alma mater, North Carolina Central University.

    He was a very good man, friend and fellow Eagle alumnus.

  3. Dr. Lenwood Davis’s scholarship and publications offered other scholars a body of materials that may take years to mine for all their richness. The bibliographer’s bibliographer; a master. His contribution to the life of the mind may live for generations. I only knew him through his work and am indebted to him for his contribution. Condolences to his family. May he rest in grace.

  4. I knew Prof. Lenwood G. Davis only through his work and through telephone conversations (his number is still in my phone). We met when I was working on the Encyclopedia of African American Religious Cultures with Dr. Anthony B. Pinn at Rice University. I will always appreciate the pioneers of academia, who had far less opportunities than we do now (though still limited and fraught with challenges). They opened many doors and had to do it with very few peers.

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