|Black History at VT:||Black History Timeline||First Black Grads||Black Women||Oral Histories|
|First Black Homecoming Queen at Virginia Tech: Marva Felder Davis, Class of 1983|
Date of interview: 27 March 1999
Location of interview: sound booth, Media Building at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va
Interviewer: Tamara Kennelly
Transcribers: Jontae Ross, Stacy Brown
[Tape 1, side 1 continued]
Kennelly: Why did you, when you came to Virginia Tech in 1979, why did you choose to come here?
Davis: Truthfully, I wanted,... There were two sides to the story that all kind of came together, and I tell them both. One was parents nixed out-of-state schools, all private schools or all girls schools, all schools within a 20 minute distance from the house [laughing]. They didn't want me to go anywhere close, and did I say private? No private school either. So by the time you nixed the United States of America [laughing] for the most part, you were left with William and Mary, the University of Virginia, Madison, and Tech.
I did not like the University of Virginia at all. William and Mary was a thought. I wanted to go--outside of what they wanted--I wanted to go to a large school. It had to be a large school. I didn't want it to be a small private school, or a small school. I wanted the challenge to feel like I was out on my own, but yet still had a connection to home if I really needed it. I wanted to know that by the time I graduated from college, that I could make it on my own in the real world. I wanted my college experience to be that once I got my college diploma, I was comfortable going out and dealing with the real world. And so that took out Madison, because they were too small and left me with Tech. And my parents brought me up to Tech to look around. And they were telling my husband on the way over here yesterday, "Marva got to this point right here and said, 'This is the school I'm coming to.'" Of course I don't remember that [mild laughing]. So the decision was there.
Kennelly: Which point was it?
Davis: No. I turned. Oh, I forgot. What's the name of the main road over by the Vet school? As you turn into Tech?
Kennelly: Oh, 460?
Davis: Right. Turning off of 460 to get into Tech, right at the point of the map is of Tech, and I could see a couple of the tall buildings. I could see the stadium from a distance a little bit. She says they were, we were right there when I said, "This is the school." That was the deciding factor for me. There was really no other school that I... I had applied to Tech for early decision and was accepted, so the rest was a moot point. I never put in another application anywhere else. If I hadn't been accepted to Tech, I did have an application to William and Mary, but I never sent it. And my parents, I remember thinking of applying. My dad really wanted me here. But my dad was never one to say you're going here because I want you to come here. I found out after the fact that he wanted with every fiber in his soul for me to come to this school.
I wanted to be a veterinarian all my life, and they never took that thought away from me. I always had another alternative should I not get accepted into vet school, but I always wanted to be a veterinarian, and so my father knowing that, and my parents both wanting me to do that, and they were never ones to push outwardly. It was all done secretly. My dad wanted me to come here because the vet school was here too, and the school was a good school.
So when I gave my thoughts about applying to William and Mary also, my dad made a very negative comment to me, and it really hurt my feelings. I couldn't understand why he would do that or say that. But my dad said to me at William and Mary, "Your English is not very good." My writing. "And they require a lot of writing. I don't think you're going to make it there." And boy, was I hurt when he said that. He just walked off. I was a like God, I'm not a straight A student, but I'm not a bad student either. But when I really didn't care about doing something I did get a little sloppy [laughing]. So I didn't apply because I thought my dad was may be right. I didn't care about William and Mary. It was just another school that would fit my needs, my criteria, if I didn't get accepted to Tech.
So when I applied for early decision and got accepted, it became a moot point. And when I was accepted, my mom came back and said, "That's why he said it. He didn't really want you to apply anywhere else. [laughing] He really wanted you to be here, but you had to do it yourself, and that was his way going about doing it. " I was like, "Okay. He could have come up with a little something different, but it worked."
Kennelly: Now, where did your sisters go?
Davis: My oldest sister, they are all older than me. My oldest sister is about 13, 14 years older than me. Yeah, there was a big gap in our family. But my oldest sister didn't go to college. She went to nursing school in New York. The one next to her went to Virginia Commonwealth University, and the one between her and myself did not go to college. She was a straight A student in high school, but just decided that she didn't want to go to college and never did. And then my youngest sister came to Tech for a couple of years and then transferred and graduated from Norfolk State.
Kennelly: What was the racial climate at Virginia Tech when you were here?
Davis: There was an effort in--Calvin Jamison and Glen Valentine were instrumental in trying to make blacks students feel at home and very welcomed here. As a matter of fact, my first day here when I met Calvin at orientation, he had actually taken the time to study the faces of every student that had been accepted. So that when I walked into Squires, he walked up to me and said, "Hi, Marva. How are you? I'm so glad you made it here."
I was blown away. I was also going in my mind, with a few explicatives, who are you? Why do you know who I am? What's going on here? [laughing] But it was very heart warming that he had taken the time to get to know who I was, and everyone else before we got here to make us feel very at home. I never again, I played a lot of it. If there was racism, I never really felt it by choice.
You had black organizations. I was a member of some of those. You had campus organizations. I joined some of those. There were white sororities. There were black sororities, by choice. But even in my sorority, it is not defined as a black sorority, but all that were there were black. If you go to some other areas, I have white sororities in my sorority as well. But here there was never a thought of me joining a white sorority. But then I had sorority that I grew up with. I had a heritage that I grew up with, that I was interested in continuing.
I had white friends. I lived in the dorms all four years. There were, there were always times when you knew people weren't really interested in getting to know you. They weren't interested in being your friend or socializing with you. People with the, you know, my floor. I never cared about that. You could say that some of it could have been racial. Some of it could have been you're just not my type. I never bothered to sit down and figure out which was which. If you don't want to get to know me, then I don't want to get to know you. That was fine.
I never had, I never felt like I had any racial conflicts or confrontations while I was here. What happened and things that I heard about were more related to off campus than on campus. Even my experience with Naesha, that was off campus, not things that were on campus. We were definitely the minority here. But then I equated that with this is what the real world is about. If I had gone to an all black college and stepped out into the world, the world was not all black. I didn't feel like I had a problem integrating myself into different activities and events here because I did it in high school, I did it in junior high school. I was already the minority learning to adapt and become a part of, and it was just a continuation when I got here. If you didn't want to get to know me, I could blow that off. It was not a big deal.
Again, I was not raised... I knew what racism was about, I knew that it existed. I didn't know where it existed because I was never that close to it. And if I was that close to it, I could keep on going. I could step over it, and it wasn't an issue. So if someone said or did something to me that was meant to be a racial connotation or racial incident they were very disappointed because I could keep on going. And then they were left to sit back and figure out, did she know what I meant or did it really just not bother her? And they'll never have that answer. [laughing]. So you know.
Kennelly: Was your, were your roommates white or black?
Davis: My roommates were white.
Kennelly: And that was just fine?
Davis: I didn't care. Actually one of my roommates was one of my brides maids in my first wedding. As I, my senior year--and we got along beautifully. Actually we lived next door to each other, and we were supposed to become roommates, and then she decided to live off campus. I had a black roommate my junior year, and that was--unless somebody over there just finagled it that way. I didn't know anything about it. That's just the way it worked out. My other two roommates were white. And there were differences there.
I had another white roommate my senior year. She was a freshman, and we got along beautifully, beautifully. She was learning a lot, and her parents were kind of looking to me to kind of keep her to not be such a wild child in their definition. To get school work done. Set the priorities, and then she could go play and party. We got along very nicely.
My first two years, my roommates and I didn't get along. Very different personalities. I can't say that it was racial at all. In one instance, I was a spoiled child. Everybody is to some degree. And those areas conflicted being in such a small defined space. There was no real hatred or anything like that, you know. We did what we had to do to get along, and then we moved on.
There was one year where I didn't have a roommate for almost a whole semester because the girl quit or transferred that was originally assigned to me, and no one was assigned to me for the second semester and the third semester. I had a mature young lady that was in the room. But again our lives were very different. Our social activities were very different. Our desires, our likes were very different. So we did okay in the room, and then we went our separate ways. We didn't socialize at all.
And then my third year, my junior year, I had a black girl as my roommate. She and I got along, but again, she had a different group that she would hang around with, more by age then anything else. She was a freshman, and I was a junior. We attended some things together. We did do some things together. Attended some functions together. But no one that I was really close to until my senior year. She and I, she and I shared a room next door. She and I were supposed to be roommates my senior year. My parents would never let me live off campus as long as I won the lottery, and so I wound up on campus in the same dorm all four years.
Kennelly: They wanted you on campus just for the...
Kennelly: Cheaper. Yeah, I guess it would be cheaper.
Davis: Cheaper then is what they were saying. I was like, "But, but, but, if you look at it like this, and I'm working and you know, everywhere I try to look at is--" "No you stay on campus." Your tuition, room, and board were all paid for. You didn't have to worry about it once those fees were paid. They didn't want to have to deal with the rent and then groceries. I had a car here, but still transportation back and forth. They didn't want to have that headache. I lived on campus all four years, and then when I was in vet school, I lived off campus.
Kennelly: Did you have scholarships here?
Davis: Yes. My first two years I had--if I recall correctly--I really left that to my parents. If I recall correctly, I had a partial scholarship from Tech the first year. But I also had two scholarships from the Council of Higher Education, partial also.
Kennelly: Do you know if any of the scholarships had to do with the Rockefeller Foundation?
Davis: No. I don't know.
Kennelly: You don't know. That's just, we have the research here. It's sort of interesting.
Davis: No. I don't know. No.
Kennelly: You were involved with the Black Student Alliance when you were at Tech.
Kennelly: Were there-- What were the concerns of this group at that time, if you happen to remember?
Davis: Becoming more involved in campus life, campus activities, having a voice and some of the decisions that were made, I think was the general desire of the group, as well finding an opportunity for the black students to come together socially, politically, educationally, and be able to succeed. Those, those to me--I didn't make it to every Black Student Alliance meeting that existed, but those to me were the, some of the basic goals that the organization was trying to accomplish.
Kennelly: Wasn't there something, I think it was a Black... You were on the Commission...
Davis: Commission of Student Affairs.
Kennelly: Yeah, and...,
Davis: Budget Committee.
Kennelly: Right. Now as Commission of--Oh, it was the Black Organizations Council was added to the Commission of Student Affairs when you were a part of it. I wondered if that was considered a major...
Kennelly: Accomplishment? Step?
Davis: Yeah. Yeah. Sure. To become involved. Right.
Kennelly: ... A voice in the..
Davis: How the moneys were distributed. Right. Right.
Kennelly: When you were a student, did the black students tend to sit together in the cafeteria or in the student union or did they...? Was it...?
Davis: When there was segregation, there was segregation by choice. More because,... Yes and no. Did it always happen? No. But you have to, you have to also look at a lot of the black students that came from the same area. They knew each other, and that was their means of holding on to something in coming to this big university and not knowing much of anybody.
So yes, you flocked in directions that you knew, and hopefully you would spread your wings and see what else was out there. So yes, we would do things together as a group, and some of us would sit together at lunch or at dinner in the cafeteria, or some of us would meet over at Squires for meetings or to socialize. You did not, you did not and should not lose contact with who you are and your heritage and your friends that you brought here, but you hopefully also learn more about what the campus is about, and you spread your wings and you get involved in a little bit of everything. So yeah, there wasn't designated area where this is where black people sit and eat, no.
Kennelly: And sometimes you might be sitting with white friends?
Davis: Sure. It was who was there at the time. Nobody went to the cafeteria for two hours to sit and eat. It was when you had the time, how your schedule would fit in. If everyone's schedule was the same, you'd all leave the dorm together and go over and eat. If not, you'd meet over there, you'd go in by yourself, see someone you know, haven't talked to in a while. You'd sit down with them, or someone else in your class that you needed to talk to. If you hadn't seen a white person, sit down and talk with them.
Kennelly: So it wasn't like uncomfortable or..
Davis: Not for me.
Davis: And I don't think to a lot of other blacks. Umm, I think, I know I had some, some black friends that were here that had a challenging time because they grew up in an all black school. AlI their friends were black. If the, you know, had I stayed in Richmond, I would have gone to an all black school with maybe one or two white students in the class. And then you come to this university where you were 600 out of 20,000. That's a lot to.. its a culture shock to some degree. And so you will cling to what you know, and you will hopefully have the confidence to be able to do what you need to do to learn what else is out there.
I did that in junior high school and high school. And started, I didn't--we had little cliques. We had little black cliques in high school. All the black students would meet in the center of the crosswalk in the hallway and chit chat for that five minutes and go our separate ways. You didn't see a lot of white students doing that. White students were walking in the halls, or they'd be standing by, you know, a room or something, but right there in the center of that T, in-between classes, a lot of black students would stop and stand and talk, even though we were the minority there, and then we'd break up and go their separate ways. I did it sometimes. But that wasn't my thing.
Kennelly: You were--you were chosen to be homecoming queen at Tech and, when you were here, and that would have been your senior year?
Kennelly: Seems like, the way people remember it, it just seems like, well I'd like for you to just talk about how that came about, and then what impact that had on the community here.
Davis: Mmm. (pause) I worked at Squires. I worked two jobs while I was here on campus. Not qualifying for, what is it? Student aid? Student..
Kennelly: Yeah, I think that's work study.
Davis: Work study. Right. Not qualifying for work study. So, my per hour was little of nothing, but it was better than nothing at all. So the more I worked, the more I made. So I worked a lot between the campus housing, working in mail room, and working over at Squires a lot.
Kennelly: What were you doing at Squires?
Davis: Everything, anything. I was working the front desk, or working the art gallery, or ushering for the movies, things like that. I, between that and the few organizations that I was in, I had a full schedule.
The Black Student Alliance had a meeting. They had asked me my junior year if I would consider running. I just said, you know, thanks, I appreciate it, that's really complimentary, but I'd really rather not. Although I'm an out-going person, I don't like being in the limelight a lot. I don't like the butterflies that you have to go through. You know. So I didn't mind doing things, but I liked to do things from behind the scenes, and you can stand out there and take all the accolades you want, and I will accomplish what I need to accomplish behind you.
So when they asked me to run my junior year, I just very politely declined, and that was the end of that. I didn't think that they would ask me again because I had declined the first time. And then my senior year, I was in Squires working the night that they had a meeting. And one of the guys came down and asked me if, if they nominated me, would I run. And I looked at him and said, "It doesn't have anything to do with the organization it's just...," and he said, "Would you please, please." I was like, "Okay. If there's no one else that really wants to do it, because I will support anyone else who wants to do it, I'll, I'll run. Okay. And in my mind I'm going, I really don't want to do this. Didn't have nothing to do with the commun--, the club, its just that my nerves. Would my nerves be able to take what we had to do for that?
So they came back down and two--when I said okay I'll do it, I said there is going to be someone else who really wants to do it, and it was time I know. There was someone else who wanted to do it last time. So this is not going to be an issue. And they'll do it with someone who is not going to be as nervous as I would be, and they'll come back down and tell me that was it. I said great. So they came back down and said, "You won." I'm like ohhh. [Laughing]. Ohhh my God. [Laughing]
And then we had to go through the pictures, taking the pictures to put out, and I was really, you know, I had taken modeling classes and stuff in junior high school. I did it, I guess behind my sister and my other one older than me barber's or modeling school and what not. So I learned how to be feminine, proper, and put my make up on, and how to model and when you walk up and down a runway and what not.
And I'd always thought about doing that. That's every girl's dream to do that for a little bit on the side. I had competed in a couple of pageants, the Miss Junior Miss pageant. I got talked into doing it from a modeling instructor, and my parents and I knew what those nerves were all about. I just didn't like that concept, butterflies in my stomach. But so we did the pictures here, and I remember, I mean my pictures were very casual. I didn't think that I was very photogenic at all.
Calvin looked at the pictures, and a couple of other people looked at the pictures, and they picked out the ones they said they looked great, they all looked great. They posted them all around the school. I remember walking past the pictures and saying, "Ugh. Well somebody won't have to worry about me because these are really yuck." [Laughing] the pictures. And everyone else was saying that they were really nice, but I just didn't think that I was very photogenic. I thought I had a big nose in the picture. I didn't think I was glamorous looking at all. Some of the other girls, I mean they really went out of their way with their pictures and had very glamorous looks, and I didn't think I had any of that, and I just didn't think it was going to really be an issue for me, for that, looking at,...
Kennelly: The students are voting?
Davis: Well, there was an interview, and there were votes. It was... At that time it, if I recall correctly, 50 percent of decision was based on your interview. And your interview was a panel of faculty, I think a couple of students were there, and employees here. And then the other 50 percent came from student votes.
You were to advertise yourself quote, unquote. The girls would be escorted around the cafeteria. That's the other reason why I really didn't want to do it. I really hated when they escorted girls around the cafeteria. They come up to your table and say, "Hi, this is Mary Sue. She's our candidate for homecoming queen. Please vote for her." And then move on to the next table. You know. [Laughter]. And I remember, I used to look at those girls and say, duh. I couldn't do that. And they used to also sit there and eat and say, "I would really rather you not disturb me [laughing] while I'm eating. We have 15, 20 minutes before I have to get up and go." But I was never rude. Just kept on going.
So I wasn't real thrilled with the pictures, and then the day came when we had to go into the cafeteria. Oh, did I dread that. All I could think about was all the thoughts that I had those years when other girls were coming through. So the two gentleman that escorted me to the first couple of tables introduced me as their homecoming queen candidate, and we went from one table to the next. And by the time we got to about the third or the fourth table I was really feeling bad. I was really, I mean mentally, I was really just ugh, not liking that at all. And as I was going to each table, I was trying to assess what it was that I had a problem with. The problem was that I wasn't talking. [pause]
I felt like some little Barbie doll being escorted from one table to the next and having these guys introduce me and I'm not talking, and that's what bothered me. It took me that long to figure it out, but that's what bothered me about every, all those other years and the girls just coming to the table. I needed to do more than just try to look pretty. I just, I didn't like that.
So as we went to the next table. I stopped and said, "Guys, we're going to do this a little different. I'll talk. You just escort me. " And that's what we did. And I went around the tables and I introduced myself and who I was, and told them a little bit about myself, and I just kept talking and talking as I went from table to table to table to table, you know. By the end of the visit, I was hoarse.
But boy, I felt, you know, I still didn't really like the concept of, of advertising or politicking in the cafeteria for anything. But that was our mechanism at the time, so that's what we did. And I went through and talked, and after that first go around it was nothing. Felt very comfortable doing it then. Next time we had to go up there--not an issue. The guys just escorted me, and I introduced myself. And I was meeting and greeting people. And that was me. You know.
And it was funny. We all had to have our group pictures taken by the photographer. Had one session here in Squires. And we were all, several of us were in the bathroom freshening up and everything before the picture. And this very attractive young white girl came up to me who was being represented by one of the groups and asked me if I was Marva. I said yes. And she said, "I just wanted to come and tell you that I, I came behind you in the cafeteria, being introduced to the tables, and I just wanted to tell you that a lot of people were really impressed with you stopping and talking with them, that one table suggested that I come and introduce myself to you and find out what it was that you were doing that I needed to do to make myself..."
And I was [sigh] floored, floored. Floored for two reasons. One that it really made that big of a difference to people, and two, that she had enough in her to come to me and say that.
I told her, I said, "Well I'm really impressed with you that you would come and share that with me, and I really appreciate that." But I said, "You know what, the only thing I did was talk and have people get a chance to get to know who I was. So if they decided to vote for me they would know who they were voting for, not just what they voting for."
And then we had that--we had that, and on my interview. My interview was disastrous in the beginning. I went out and bought two dresses for the interview. One was for the interview, and one was for... I can't remember what the other dress was for. But they were each for specific reasons during this event. So I'm getting myself dressed. Make up, prim-proper, everything, and I go to press my dress. Got my iron turned on everything, and it was uhh, oh, a very shear outer layer, and I put the iron down, and it melted my dress.
Davis: I was horrified. Horrified. Horrified. I had to be over at my interview in 30 minutes. What am I going to do? I went through everything. I put that dress on and said umm. And said okay, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Where is, where is the interview going to be? Where are they going to be sitting? Where if I walk in the door, and they're sitting facing the door, I can walk straight in, sit at, because the burn was in the back. The hole was in the back of the dress. I could walk in. I could sit down. I could get up and I could back myself out [laughing] very nicely and they'd never notice it. But if they're on the side, I'll have to walk in and just kind of glaze on in this way, and then no one will see the hole in the back of my dress.
Because that was the interview dress. That was suppose to make the impression. The other dress was just an okay dress for something else we had to do. I was in tears and was like, this is it. This is it. There is a reason why this happened, and it was because there was no way I was ever going to win, okay. So I was left with wearing this other new dress which was a velour, just a basic velour long sleeve, scoop neck, straight dress. That was it. I said I've blown it. This is it. Okay. Whatever now. You know. It just didn't matter because my first impression was shot [laughing] as far as I was concerned.
So I got there and said, What are you going to do now? Go in and answer the questions to the best of your ability. You've already blown it with the dress, so have a good time. It was all I could do.
So I walked in, and Calvin Jamison was on the committee, and he was the only face. There was another face that I recognized that I can't remember who it was though. And I was like oh, CJ is here. Good. This is a good one. What are you going to do to embarrass me? I could see.. he would joke, we would joke a lot. I never really thought he would embarrass me, but I thought, what would he do to make me snicker, or something? And he really, he wasn't one to ask most of the questions.
There were other people asking questions, and fortunately, although I don't really remember all the questions that were asked, I do remember that they were all about things that I felt strongly about. That I had an opinion about. Not, oh well I never thought about that. And I was never a deep thinker as a person. I've always tried to keep my eyes open and see what was there, but never considered myself a deep thinker. And I answered all the questions, and we had a good time, and things just flowed. And that was it. It was an interview. It wasn't so much an interview as a let me get to know you. And then a few what is your opinion about questions.
And I know who I am. I know what I want. I know where I want it to go. I had strong desires and dreams, and I could relay that, and that was it. So I never made a whole lot of any of this because I'd never thought I'd win. It was I'm going to be the best representative I can be for the organization that asked me to do it and voted on me and that was it. At best I might make it to the court, but never expected anything past that. And if I didn't make it to the court it wasn't going to be any big surprise. So when I made it that far, and my parents came up for the football game...
Kennelly:Did they narrow it down to the people who were going to be in the...
Davis:Yeah there were a lot , there was a larger group, and then it was narrowed down. And I...
Kennelly: For the football game.
Davis: Yeah, for the football game. And others, if I recall correctly, there had been another black candidate that had made it to the smaller few. I think that was since I had been there, or right before I got there. One or the other. So that's what I said. I might, might make it that far, but that would be it. So I made it that far and got out on the football field, and they kind of told us the way things were going to go, and I was happy. Just happy to be there. Just happy to be the representative. Just having a good time, and that was it.
You know, my parents came up for the weekend. Some other people were there, but their kids were there. Excuse me, that I grew up with. We all walked out on the football field. I don't if this... I don't know if that picture is in here. [pause, sound of papers ruffling]. No. There was another couple standing to our left, and I knew the guy who was escorting her because he was in Squires a lot. In a fraternity, in Squires doing things a lot.
And for some reason I had said, I had looked at all the girls and said, hmm, okay, who's going to win? This one's going to win right here. I'm sure she's going to win. So we were out there on the football field, and I had gone into another world. I mean this was just, we were just,.. to me at a point of, virtually this is the way things were going to go. They'll name the homecoming queen, she'll wave, and then we'll all go back to our seats, we'll congratulate her and then we'll all go back to our seats.
And then so, Billy and I are just standing there, and I remember Dr. Lavery coming down. And then, from then I just zoned out. I was doing something else. I was prepared to congratulate, you know, after everyone else congratulated, and then walk off and that was it. You know when you grow up your parents teach you never to frown when you don't win. You always smile and have a happy walk. I never planned on winning. I never thought in my wildest dreams it would ever happen. So it wasn't an issue. I was happy for whomever was going to win. I was happy that as the Black Student Alliance's representative that I had made it this far, and was content. So I had zoned out. I don't know where I was. I don't know what I was thinking about. But I remember they said, and the homecoming queen is-- And I was still zoned out because I knew I was going to hear another name. I just didn't even think about it.
And then it was like flashback. Everything happened all at once [snapping her fingers]. I saw Dr. Lavery coming to me. Billy literally nudged me [Interviewer laughing]. And it was his nudge that brought me back. And then I remember hearing Marva Felder on the... I was like, and that's the pictures where my mouth was standing wide open. It's because, I really didn't [laughing], I really didn't expect it. And then Dr. Lavery comes over to give me a hug, and then the queen before came over to give me my crown. And that's when I'm like, oh my God. Oh my God. It was me. It's (laughing) really me. You know. And I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so incredibly overwhelmed. I did not like to cry in front of people, but the tears were kind of there. I was beside myself. I had no clue. My parents knew. Someone had told my parents. And that's why they were sitting down where they were.
Kennelly: What they knew..
Davis: Somebody, yeah. I think they told.. someone told, uhh, they didn't know for sure, someone told them that it was a very good possibility. And I don't know who it was. I didn't know anything about that until after the fact. But it is was oh, I was... I can't tell you. I mean I was elated. I was, I never been more shocked in my life over anything. I was just, I was really--I didn't think Tech was ready for a black Miss Virginia Tech, or homecoming queen. I never thought it was going to happen. And when it did... If someone had interviewed me right then and there, I would have been uhh, uhh, uhh, uhh, for the first time in my life, not a whole lot to say because that's not one that I had thought about or had ever been planned for. You asked me things that happened after homecoming queen. Yeah, yeah, now that you mention it. There were things that told me that Tech wasn't really ready.
Kennelly: That they weren't really ready?
Davis: Not all of Tech. But that year, whereas in years past, the homecoming queen was asked to participate in a few events. I was never called and asked to participate.
Kennelly: Never called?
Davis: No. and in retrospect, you know, in that respect, I considered it because I was the black homecoming queen.
Kennelly: Like what kind?
Davis: Again, most of them were off campus or, or community things that the homecoming queen might have been invited to participate in, and I wasn't invited. I really didn't function much on campus, or be invited to do much. But then the homecoming queen, I don't recall in years past, being invited to do...
As far as on campus, that was pretty much the same. But things that they were invited to do off campus. And I recall, I recall a couple. I just can't tell you what they were right now. It didn't hurt my feelings. It just stood out that, you know.
Kennelly: That it was happening, that it happened before. You probably would have heard, so and so, she had to do this. I mean, I'm supposed to be interested in what's going to be required, and you didn't call me to do that.
Davis: Right. That's exactly right. But then again, I didn't let it bother me, and I just went on. When I was asked to do something as homecoming queen, I did it. And then I, when it was time to hand the crown over the next year, I was there to participate in that. And then we went on.
Kennelly: Well it seems... What two things... How was it important to the black community beyond you?
Davis: I think it helped to have the black students stand out a little bit more. I think it helped them to accomplish the goal of becoming more involved in the community. To become more involved. To become more noticed on campus as a functioning entity, as a functioning group.
I think by sitting on the student council as well. But it wasn't just me. There was D.K. Brockett who was class president. Any African-American person that became involved in non-African-American events was an effort to help us as a group stand out and say, hey, we are a part of this. We want input and say. Not just as an organization, as every organization, but as we spread our wings too, there were other organizations. When we were looked upon, we stood out more because we were the minority. So when people like D.K. stood out because he was a minority who held a office, or because I became homecoming queen and gave us a group a chance to stand out a little bit more.
Send questions or comments to: