Vera Davis is a woman of character, strength, honesty and, oh yes, she’s also married to Congressman Danny K. Davis, 7th Congressional District. Most of her friends, colleagues and family will tell you that she is the strength the congressman relies on. A former teacher (as was her husband), she once had as students Commander Al Wysinger (15th Dist.) and State Rep. Deborah Graham (78th Dist.).
Davis recently stepped down as president of the Westside Branch of the NAACP, but remains active with the organization. Davis sat down with the Austin Weekly News to talk about her life.
AWN: Where was your first teaching position?
Davis: The Magellan Educational and Vocational Guidance Center on the West Side. It was there that I met Danny. He was the handsome Social Studies teacher who met me each morning with a line of poetry that flattered me. Since I was the typing teacher, and he was working on this master’s thesis, he hired me to type some of his work. I really think this was just an opportunity to spend time with me. He left to become the executive director of a Medical Health Center.
One day he was escorting tourists from Africa and saw me on the stairwell with my paycheck in my hand. He jokingly asked me for my check, and I gave it to him and continued up the stairs. Later on that day he found me and returned my check. Then he suggested that we might go out on a date. We were married on Nov. 1, 1969 and have been married for 37 years.
[Later] I taught at Collins High School on the West Side. I truly enjoyed the years I spent at Collins High School. Dr. Grady C. Jordan was a great principal and the staff understood we were there to prepare students for employment or to go on to higher education. I held several positions while there including business education department head, registrar, yearbook sponsor, marketing education work coordinator, Future Business Leaders of America. I was then transferred to Bogan High School on the far Southwest Side. This opportunity showed me how well white people took care of each other.
AWN: As the wife of a congressman what kind of family life do you have?
Davis: We don’t have a lot of quality time to spend with each other and our family. We have had holiday visits cut short because of political situations. Last year, we traveled to Detroit for a really nice family reunion. After that we flew to Pine Buff, Ark. to a ceremony where a U.S. Post Office was being named for his uncle, Willie Vaughn in Parkdale. We then drove to Mound Bayou, Miss. to visit with my cousins and on to Greenville to visit with his uncle. After that we drove to Tunica, Miss. where we stayed for a few days, and I was rather lucky in the casino. However, we had to cut that visit short because he had to return to Chicago for event where he was the keynote speaker. That is just a sampling of how we have to maneuver our schedule to spend time with each other. We actually have to schedule “date” nights for some personal time.
Since I am no longer president of the branch, I plan to spend more time with our grandchildren. Of course, I will continue to work with the branch, sorority and my church, but I will spend the majority of the time taking care of family business.
This profile originally ran in the 2007 Austin Community Guide which published in February.