Raynard Davis was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant in Washington DC in 1999.
Ray Davis, a D.C. native and 1985 Oberlin College graduate met Zahara Heckscher in 1987 when they were working with the D.C. Student Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism. Along with other community activists, Heckscher and Davis protested together, got arrested together and took their lumps together in their struggle against racism.
Following the release of Nelson Mandela and the demise of South Africa's last white government, Ray continued his activities with anti-racism programs and multi-racial causes, co-founding the D.C. Student Coalition Against Racism. According to Heckscher, he earned a name for himself building bridges among the region's diverse ethnic groups--blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, as well as white people.
Davis worked particularly hard to build collaboration and goodwill between African Americans and Jews, she said. He dedicated much of his life to working with high school youth, involving young people in the anti-apartheid movement and supporting initiatives to promote racial healing and justice in our own community.
"Raynard Davis," she wrote, "a graduate student at Howard University, was murdered last April 7 (1999) by an unknown assailant."
His parents, Hayward Davis and Jean Davis, are determined not to let his life end like that. His father said in an interview that they are trying to keep his memory alive through a living legacy named the Raynard T. Davis Memorial Fund to assist a minority student in anthropology at Oberlin and the Youth Leadership Support Network, a D.C.-based advocacy group.
The crowd that packed Howard University's Andrew Rankin Chapel for his memorial service last July 31 former South African political prisoner Dennis Brutus was there. A was Ray's Oberlin classmate and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, who sang three songs.
Circa 1988 Freedom Road Socialist Organization compiled a "Nationality Contact" list. It comprised of people Freedom Road would like to work with or to recruit, mainly through racial issues.
Socialist Scholars Conference
- Ray Davis - D.C. Student Coalition Against Racism
- Dinah Leventhal - Democratic Socialists of America - New York City
- Christine Kelly - Student Action Union - Rutgers
- Steve Penn - Northeast Student Action Network - Boston
- Karin Baker - Solidarity - Upstate New York
- Patrick McCann - founding member Progressive Student Network
Malcolm X conference
A conference, Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle was held in New York City, November 14 1990.
Campus Racism and the Rebirth of Militant Black Student Activism
- T'wana Nkrumah, Queens College
- Ray Davis, D.C. Student Coalition Against Racism
- Ras Baraka, Howard University Student Government Association
In the mid 1990s Ray Davis wasa contributing editor to Oakland based Institute for Social and Economic Studies- sponsor of CrossRoads magazine, which sought to promote dialogue and building new alliances among progressives and leftists... and to bring diverse Marxist and socialist traditions to bear while exploring new strategies and directions for the progressive political movements.
- [WaPo Who Remembers Ray Davis? By Colbert I. King February 12, 2000]
- Crossroads March 1996