A noted psychologist, educator, and author, Dr. Allison Davis (1902-83) helped raise national awareness of the civil rights issue through his books, lectures, and conferences. Graduating as valedictorian from Williams College in 1924, he went on to earn two master’s degrees from Harvard, where he directed various research projects.
In 1942, Davis received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, where he served as a faculty member for the next 40 years. A sharp critic of intelligence testing, he challenged the cultural bias of the testing system and fought for the understanding of human potential without regard to race or class.
Widely acclaimed, he received numerous awards. The University of Chicago’s John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Education, he was also named Educator of the Year in 1971. During the 60s, Dr. Davis served on the President’s Commission on Civil Rights and later as vice chairman of the Department of Labor’s Commission on Manpower Retraining. Dr. Davis wrote ten respected books, was one of the first African American professors to be granted tenure at a major predominantly white northern university, and served on the President’s Commission on Civil Rights—and so much more.