A Memphis businessman and civil rights leader with a storied past has a message for his fellow African Americans: “Black lives matter. So let’s quit killing each other.”
He believed in and wanted to share the message so much that he placed it on a large billboard next to his insurance agency in the city.
Fred Davis, born in 1938, lived through the momentous civil rights era and was able to witness firsthand some of its watershed moments. He marched right beside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the famous leader’s last protest march and sat with him on the stage during his last speech before an assassin’s bullet cut him in Memphis in April 1968.
Davis, in fact, was chairman of the Public Works Committee of the Memphis City Council during the sanitation workers strike in 1968, which had brought King to town. Davis advocated for the city to recognize the workers’ union.
“I can speak, not from reading a book about the history, because I was a part of the history,” Davis told local NBC affiliate WMC. “I think that gives me a license as an experienced observer to push and to advocate to the black community.”
“We’re going to have to wake up,” he added. “We’re going to have to say to ourselves that black lives matter, and we’re going to have to refrain from killing each other out of our own frustration.”
Davis can speak with the authority of someone who has broken racial barriers and has overcome obstacles to success. He opened his insurance agency in 1967 and went on to become the first African American member of the Independent Insurance Agents. He also ran for and was elected to the first Memphis City Council from a majority white district in 1968.
The “Black Lives Matter…” billboard is not the first time the businessman has used the medium to convey a message.
In 2013, he put this banner on the same billboard next to his business.
Local Memphis featured Davis during its Black History Month programming in 2011, noting he “has also been a strong mentor to young people and his mission is to help grow young people and share what he has learned so that they can step up to the plate and carry it on.”
h/t: The Blaze
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth