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Tue, 10.14.1902

William A. Davis, Anthropologist, and Educator born

Wm. Allison Davis

William Allison Davis was born on this date in 1902. He was a Black cultural anthropologist and educator.

He was born in Washington, DC, and attended Williams College in Williamstown, MA. He received a Master's Degree in anthropology from Harvard University in 1942 and a PhD. in education in 1942 at the University of Chicago. He was awarded the John Dewey Distinguished Professor honor. Davis taught at Dillard University and later at the University of Chicago. In 1948, he became one of the first African Americans to receive tenure at a non-historical Black institution.

Davis, a leading social anthropologist and educator, challenged the cultural bias of standardized intelligence tests. He argued that the lower intelligence scores of Blacks were not the results of lower intelligence but middle-class cultural bias posed in the questions.

His work in psychology and education included the development of the Davis-Ellis Intelligence Test. He conducted several studies on social and class influences on children's education. He authored or co-authored eight scholarly works, including "Children of Bondage" in 1940 and "Cultural Deprivation" in 1964. He was appointed a Conference to Ensure Civil Rights member in 1965 and served on the White House Task Force on the Gifted in 1968.

In 1967, Dr. Davis was the first person from the field of education to be elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He retired in 1978 and began writing what proved to be his last book. "Leadership, Love and Aggression," a study of four black leaders, was published in November 1983. He died in November of the same year.

In 1994, the United States Postal Service honored him with a stamp bearing his picture.

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