Danny K. Davis

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Danny K. Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Preceded byCardiss Collins
Member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners
from the 1st district
In office
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byDarlena Williams-Burnett
Member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners
from Chicago's at-large district
In office
Member of the Chicago City Council
from the 29th Ward
In office
Preceded byLeroy Cross
Succeeded bySam Burrell
Personal details
Born (1941-09-06) September 6, 1941 (age 78)
Parkdale, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Vera Davis (m. 1974)
EducationUniversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (BA)
Chicago State University (MS)
Union Institute and University (PhD)

Daniel K. Davis (born September 6, 1941) is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative from Illinois's 7th congressional district, elected in 1996.

Davis is a Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus,[1][2] and the Progressive Caucus. Davis was one of 31 U.S. Representatives who voted against counting the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.[3]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Davis was born in Parkdale, Arkansas, and educated at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (B.A. in history, 1961), Chicago State University (M.S. in guidance, 1968), and the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio (Ph.D. in public administration, 1977).[4]

Davis worked as a government clerk, a high school teacher, executive director of the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission, director of training at the Martin L. King Neighborhood Health Center, and executive director of the Westside Health Center before entering politics, where he represented Chicago's 29th Ward on the Chicago City Council from 1979 until 1990.[5]

He challenged Congresswoman Cardiss Collins in Democratic primaries in 1984 and 1986, but lost both races. Davis was then elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, serving from 1990 to 1996 before entering the House.[6] Davis had also waged an unsuccessful campaign against Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in the 1991 Democratic mayoral primary.

Campaign for Congress[edit]

Davis, 1997.

On December 6, 1995, Davis announced his candidacy for the 7th Congressional District, adding his name to the already announced Democratic candidates, including Alderman Percy Z. Giles, Cook County Board of Commissioners member Bobbie L. Steele, labor leader Ed Smith, and Alderman Dorothy Tillman.[7] Five other Democratic candidates entered the race later: S. Mendenhall, Joan Sullivan, G. Winbush, Anthony Travis, and Joan Powell, making it the largest field of candidates for U.S. Congress in Illinois for 1996.[8] Davis resided a block outside the 7th Congressional District, but he was familiar in the district.[9][10]

Davis ran on the progressive Democratic platform popular in the district. He was pro-choice and supported gay rights, the ERA, single-payer health care, and some federal support for child nutrition and care.[9]

In early January 1996, the FBI revealed its Operation Silver Shovel, which included an investigation into Alderman Percy Z. Giles.[11] What Operation Silver Shovel may have done to undermine Giles's chances for election are unclear as he was already lagging with a mere 3% among likely Democratic primary voters in a mid-December poll compared to Davis’ 33%, Smith’s 8%, Tillman’s 7%, and Steele’s 6%.[12] However, up until Operation Silver Shovel Giles did have Mayor Richard M. Daley's support and that of other well-known area figures—some of whom continued their support during the controversy.[13]

On March 10, 1996, during a radio debate hosted by WMAQ-AM, Tillman and Smith called for Davis to reject the endorsement of former alderman candidate Wallace "Gator" Bradley,[14] spokesman for convicted Gangster Disciples leader Larry Hoover.[13] "Why do you keep badgering me with this question?" Davis replied. "You got a problem with something? You're not going to catch me going around saying I hate Gator Bradley… I'm not in the business of disavowing individuals. The good Lord said he hated sin, but not sinners. I'm not hating Gator Bradley. I disagree with those who commit crime and those who'd use drugs, but you won't catch me going around saying that I hate Gator Bradley."[13] Davis never rejected Bradley’s endorsement during the campaign and after winning the primary claimed that Bradley’s endorsement played no role in the outcome, though Bradley asserted the contrary.[15]

During the campaign, Tillman highlighted comments Davis made in an August 1970 issue of Ebony: "(T)he white female often gives the black man certain kinds of recognition that the black woman often does not give him."[16] The Davis campaign countered that Davis was speaking as a psychologist in his role as a training director at a health center.[16]

Although Davis was fully promoted as a Democratic candidate, he also ran as a New Party candidate.[17][18][19] Supporting this was New Party’s celebration of him as the "first New Party member elected to the U.S. Congress."[20] Although the State of Illinois did not permit fusion voting, New Party advocated fusion voting as a means to promote their party and party agenda and to particularly project New Party ideology into the mainstream Democratic Party.[21] Candidates were referred to as "N[ew]P[arty] Democrats"[21] and were required to sign a contract mandating a "visible and active relationship" with New Party.[22] During this timeframe, New Party was experiencing substantial growth.[23] Davis also received the endorsement of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA)[24] of which he is a member[25][26] and had a relationship pre-dating his congressional run.[27] ACORN, AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters are included in other groups also endorsing Davis in his bid.[28]

In the March 20 Democratic primaries, Davis received more votes than the two closest candidates — Tillman and Smith — combined.[8] The first five announced candidates all received more than double the five late-entering candidates with none of the latter receiving more than 2,700 votes.[8]

In the November 5 general election, Davis won with over 82 percent of the votes cast over Republican Randy Borow and third-party candidates Chauncey L. Stroud (Independent), Toietta Dixon (Libertarian), and Charles A. Winter (Natural Law).[29]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Davis with President Barack Obama in January 2011
Davis watches as President Obama signs an executive order on July 26, 2012

Committee assignments[edit]

Party leadership and Caucus membership[edit]

Other political interests[edit]

Davis expressed interest in replacing John Stroger on the ballot in the 2006 race for President of the Cook County Board.[32] Stroger's son Todd Stroger was ultimately selected.

In late 2008 Davis expressed interest in being President Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate before Illinois Governor Blagojevich's major scandal erupted.[33] In a December 31, 2008, article published on the website of The New York Times, Davis said that he turned down an offer from representatives of Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate.[34] Instead, Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris.[35]

Stroger ran a second time for Mayor of Chicago in 2011, but withdrew before election and endorsed Carol Moseley Braun.[36]


Rev. Sun Myung Moon[edit]

In 2004, Davis was met with national controversy when he crowned the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a religious ceremony at the Dirksen Senate Office Building honoring the controversial spiritual leader.[37][38] Moon declared himself the Messiah at the crowning ceremony, in which Davis appeared on the invitation as a sponsoring co-chair.[38] Davis wore white gloves and carried the crown on a pillow to crown Moon and his wife "the King and Queen of Peace."[39] Davis told Christian Challenge that Moon declaring himself the Messiah "was similar to a baseball team owner telling team members that 'we are the greatest team on earth'" prior to a baseball game. Davis said the peace awards were to "recognize people for promoting peace. Of course the highest recognition goes to the highest promoter and the highest promoter is Reverend Moon, so they come up with something higher than the certificates and plaques that other folks get."[38] Other lawmakers who attended included Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), as well as former Representative Walter Fauntroy (D-D.C.) . Key organizers of the event included George Augustus Stallings, Jr., a controversial former Roman Catholic priest who had been married by Moon, and Michael Jenkins, the president of the Unification Church of the United States at that time.[40]

Trip paid for by Tamil Tigers[edit]

As the 15th most prolific traveler in Congress, Davis stirred up controversy by accepting a trip to Sri Lanka in 2005 on behalf of the Tamil minority there, paid for by the Tamil Tigers, a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers. Davis said that he was unaware that the Tigers were the source of the trip's funding.[41]

Relationship with Louis Farrakhan[edit]

Davis has said that Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam who has attracted considerable controversy regarding his repeated anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks, is an "outstanding human being" and "I personally know [Farrakhan], I’ve been to his home, done meetings, participated in events with him." In March 2018 he said, "The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing."[42][43][44][45] Davis condemned Farrakhan's views later that month, saying, "So let me be clear: I reject, condemn and oppose Minister Farrakhan’s views and remarks regarding the Jewish people and the Jewish religion."[46] He attended Farrakhan's Million Man March and was the only member of Congress to address the 20th anniversary of it.[47][48]

Personal life[edit]

Davis, 2007.

Davis is married to Vera G. Davis. They have two children, Jonathan and Stacey[49] Davis is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[50] Davis is notable for his support of the National Federation of the Blind. He spoke at their conventions in 2004 and 2005.[citation needed]

On November 18, 2016, Davis' 15-year-old grandson, Javon Wilson, was murdered while trying to break up a fight during a home invasion in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.[51]

On March 30, 2017, Davis' 44-year-old son, Stacey Wilson, was found dead in his home. He was the father of Javon Wilson.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  2. ^ John Gorenfeld (2004-06-21). "Hail to the Moon king". Salon. Archived from the original on 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  3. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 7 Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, January 6, 2005
  4. ^ "Danny Davis' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Congressman Danny K. Davis : Biography". davis.house.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  6. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress-Danny K. Davis
  7. ^ Fornek, S: "Davis Opens House Campaign With a Shot at Giles", Chicago Sun-Times, December 7, 1995. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  8. ^ a b c "U.S. Congress Primaries", Chicago Tribune, March 21, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-2 from Newsbank
  9. ^ a b Ritter, J.: "7th District Contest Drawing a Crowd", Chicago Sun-Times, January 22, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-2 from Newsbank
  10. ^ Heard, J.: "Davis Looks Like Collins’ Likely Successor In U.S. House", Chicago Tribune, October 4, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-2 from Newsbank
  11. ^ Oclander, J. and Spielman, F: "Mole Gave Alderman Cash - Politician Suspected of Receiving $20,000", Chicago Sun-Times, January 9, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  12. ^ Neal, S.: "Davis' Poll Gives him Lead in 7th Dist.", Chicago Sun-Times, January 15, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  13. ^ a b c Neal, S.: "Silver Shovel Digs Into House Race", Chicago Sun-Times, March 11, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  14. ^ "Wallace "Gator" Bradley", Chicago Sun-Times, December 29, 1995. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  15. ^ "Corrections and clarifications", Chicago Tribune, March 22, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-1 from Newsbank
  16. ^ a b Bey, L.: "Rivals Revive Davis ' 1970 Comments on Black Women", Chicago Sun-Times, March 14, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-2 from Newsbank
  17. ^ "March Update". Archived from the original on February 2, 1999. Retrieved 2012-07-08., New Party (website), Retrieved 2008-11-2
  18. ^ "October Update". Archived from the original on February 3, 1998. Retrieved 2008-11-03.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), New Party, Retrieved 2008-11-2
  19. ^ "The New Party of Illinois: Contacts and Links". Archived from the original on October 23, 1999. Retrieved 2017-04-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), New Party, Retrieved 2008-11-2
  20. ^ "Member Profiles". Archived from the original on February 10, 2001. Retrieved 2017-04-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), New Party (website), Retrieved 2008-11-2
  21. ^ a b "Supreme Court Decides Fusion Case". Archived from the original on February 20, 1999. Retrieved 2017-04-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), New Party (website), Retrieved 2008-11-2
  22. ^ Bentley, B.: Chicago New Party Update Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, New Ground 42, Sept-Oct 1995. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  23. ^ "New Party Profile: Members, Chapter, National". Archived from the original on April 23, 1999. Retrieved 2017-04-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), New Party (website), Retrieved 2008-11-2
  24. ^ Chicago DSA endorsements in the March 19th primary election Archived 2009-03-09 at the Wayback Machine, New Ground 45, Mar-Apr 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  25. ^ Send a student to Minnesota Archived 2008-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, Democratic Left, 30(2):5 Fall 2002. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  26. ^ Roman, B.: Cornel West at Preston Bradley Hall Archived 2009-03-18 at the Wayback Machine, New Ground 75, Mar-Apr 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  27. ^ Roman, R.: Chicago DSA Endorses Danny Davis for Mayor Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, New Ground , 40:6 Winter 1990-1991. Retrieved 2008-11-2 only article header available
  28. ^ Davis for Congress (political ad), South Street Journal, 3(8):9. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  29. ^ Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election, Clerk of the House of Representatives, p. 21. Retrieved 2008-11-2
  30. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  32. ^ https://newspaperarchive.com/daily-herald-suburban-chicago-jul-02-2006-p-139/
  33. ^ Klaus Marre, Blagojevich’s slip fuels Davis speculation The Hill, November 28, 2008
  34. ^ Davey, Monica; Swarns, Rachel L. (January 1, 2009). "Tough Calculus for Blagojevich on Senate Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  35. ^ Davey, Monica (December 31, 2008). "Defiant Governor Picks Obama Successor". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  36. ^ Rozek, Dan; Pallasch, Abdon M. (December 31, 2010). "Davis to drop out of mayor's race, support Braun: source". Southtown Star. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  37. ^ Lawmakers attend Moon ‘coronation’ in Dirksen Archived 2005-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, James Kirchick, The Hill, June 22, 2004
  38. ^ a b c Ron Gunzburger (2004-06-18). "SPINNING MOON". Politics1 blog. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2007-06-20. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  39. ^ Bill Alexander (2004-06-25). "The Money-Mooners Meet on Capitol Hill". BET.com. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  40. ^ Babington, Charles; Alan Cooperman (June 23, 2004). "The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception - Lawmakers Say They Were Misled". Washington Post: A01.
  41. ^ Davis Claims He Was Unaware Terrorists Paid For Trip NBC5 News, August 25, 2006
  42. ^ Bier, Jeryl (9 February 2018). "Keith Ellison, Louis Farrakhan and Iran". Wall Street Journal.
  43. ^ "Democratic Rep. Danny Davis Calls Louis Farrakhan 'An Outstanding Human Being.' Farrakhan Says Jews Are 'Satanic' And Did 9/11". Tablet Magazine.
  44. ^ "Who is Louis Farrakhan? 10 things to know about the Nation of Islam leader, black activist". Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  45. ^ Curry, George E. (October 12, 2015). "Why Black people answer when Farrakhan calls". Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  46. ^ Kampeas, Ron. "Democratic congressman who praised Louis Farrakhan now denounces him". JTA. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  47. ^ Wright, James (October 19, 2015). "Farrakhan calls on Black community to be self-reliant". The Dallas Examiner. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  48. ^ CNN, Emanuella Grinberg and Ralph Ellis,. "Million Man March marks 20th anniversary of D.C. rally - CNN". CNN.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  49. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  50. ^ "U.S. Senate approves resolution" (Press release). Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2008-12-31. Alpha Phi Alpha is an exceptional organization that deserves to be recognized and honored for all of its many great achievements. The fraternity has helped shape more than 175,000 young men into extraordinary leaders who contribute positively to their communities and the world.[dead link]
  51. ^ David Caplan (November 19, 2016). "US Rep Danny Davis' Grandson, 15, Fatally Shot During Chicago Home Invasion". ABC News.
  52. ^ "Son of Congressman Danny Davis found dead". ABC News. March 31, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cardiss Collins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kevin Brady
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Diana DeGette