The turn of the 20th century was significant for Black Americans socially and politically. In the first two decades, both the NAACP and the UNIA-ACL were formed. The latter would be the organization that one of the most popular speakers, playwrights, and actresses of the time, Henrietta Vinton Davis, dedicated her time and influence.
JOINING THE UNIA-ACL
Towards the end of the 19th century, Davis formed a touring company and made the Caribbean a regular markets. Here she learned of the UNIA-ACL’s presence as well as that of Marcus Garvey. Her earliest involvement with the organization came via a speech before the UNIA in June 1919.
Roughly a year later, she would retire from stagecraft and join the UNIA-ACL’s Black Star Line in the role of International Organizer. She would also become Vice President shortly afterward. As one of the members of note, she would sign the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World in August 1920.
The following year would see Henrietta Davis’ influence grow in the organization. She became assistant President-General which allowed her to expand UNIA-ACL’s operations throughout the Caribbean. Davis lost her position in 1923 to Marcus Garvey but was reelected at the 1924 convention.
At the end of the year, Davis arrives in Liberia to set up a UNIA-ACL colony. By the time of the 1929 convention, Davis had been elected Secretary General. The 1930s would mark the end of her involvement with UNIA-ACL as she left in 1932 to join UNIA, Inc., a rival organization, as its Assistant President General. Two years later she was elected to the position of President.
After giving years to the goal of enriching Black lives and liberty around the world, Henrietta Davis passed away on November 23, 1941, at the age of 81.