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John W. Davis and Mrs. Martha Sneed Davis Family Collection

Identifier: MSS 0010

Scope and Contents

The Dr. John W. Davis, Jr. and Mrs. Martha Sneed Davis Family Collection consists of professional and some family papers of John Davis, Jr., Martha Sneed Davis, and Algenitia Scott Davis from 1940 to 2003. This collection contains news clippings, event programs, a funeral program, publications, committee reports, meeting minutes, video recordings of Old Colored High School alumni, correspondence, photographs, certificates, a family history, articles about Heman Sweatt, and 2 scrapbooks. Letters document community efforts for a building fund for the Houston College for Negros, and the NAACP Sweatt Victory Fund to finance Heman Sweatt’s education at the University of Texas. Later materials document the legal career of Algenita in Houston. Researchers Interested in the financial formation of the Houston College for Negroes and community support of Heman Sweatt, and civic rights will find this collection a valuable resource.


  • 1940 - 2003


Materials are in English.

Access Restriction

This collection is open for research.

Use Restriction

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Dr. John W. Davis & Mrs. Martha Sneed Davis Family Collection must be obtained from African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical note

The Davis Family of Houston, Texas, include John Davis, Jr. (1904-1960), a prominent dentist, civic leader, former president of the Charles A. George Dental Society and former Board Trustee at Texas State University for Negros and Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church; his wife Martha Sneed Davis (1909-1993), who attended Booker T. Washington High School and Bishop Collection and taught at Douglass Elementary and later worked in the Heartmann Collection at Texas Southern University. John and Martha were married in 1936 and have a daughter of John Johnnye Ruth Davis. After Dr. John Davis’s death, Martha she remarried Judson Robinson, Sr., a real estate and community power broker, in 1963.

Algenita Scott Davis is a native Houstonian. She grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward and graduated from historic Phillis Wheatley High School. She received her accounting degree from Howard University’s School of Business Administration in 1971. Ms. Davis attended Howard’s Law School earning her Juris Doctorate in 1974. After serving five years as a tax attorney with the Shell Oil Corporation, Ms Davis became general counsel for the Port of Houston Authority and Port Development Corporation. While serving almost 10 years in this capacity, she served 3 years on the Board of Directors of a Community Bank. Under the appointment former Mayor Kathy Whitmire, she served as a member of the City Planning Commission in 1987.

Ms. Davis joined the Texas Commerce Bank in 1989 and served as Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Officer of TCB and its successor, JP Morgan Chase. In this role she developed plans for conducting, analyzing, and documenting bank compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. Through her combined legal and business experience she forged partnerships between the bank, governmental entities, for-profit and non-profit developers that resulted in revitalization and affordable housing to the surrounding community. After her retirement from Chase in 2005, Ms. Davis served as visiting Professor at Texas Southern University School of Business and Thurgood Marshall School of Law during the 2005-2006 academic year.

In September 2006, she became the new Executive Director of Houston’s Habitat for Humanity, a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life by building affordable homes for area families.

Throughout her career, Ms. Davis has chaired and established non-profit organizations empowering them to revitalize and serve the surrounding communities. She is a founding director of the William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity (WALIPP) which built a 50 unit Senior Residence and now operates a Boys Middle School Academy. She is also the Founding President of the Houston Downtown Management District and a past Chair of the Greater Houston’s Women’s Foundation Board. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, she has been elected to both the presidency of the National Bar Association and Houston Lawyers Association.

Ms. Davis was married to the late John Whittaker Davis, III, Esquire for 21 years and served as a partner in his law firm, Robinson and Davis, Attorneys at Law. She is a mother of two, John Whittaker Davis IV and Martha Davis. She currently serves on several non-profit Boards, including the Chair of Central Houston Housing and Parking Corporations, TIRZ Zone Number Nine, TIRZ Number Seven, and the Houston Area Urban League. Her philosophy throughout her career has been that “the most important thing you can do in life is serve.”


2.25 Linear Feet (2)

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged in six series by subject and material type.

Series 1 Correspondence

Series 2 Professional Activities

Series 3 Family and Local History

Series 4 Printed Materials

Series 5 Scrapbooks

Series 6 Photographs

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Algenita Scott Davis, September 2009

Related Collections

PH 0025 John W. Davis and Mrs. Martha Sneed Davis Photo Collection

Additional records are held by the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in the following collections:

MSS 293 Sneed Family Photographs

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee, October 2009; Updated by: Sheena Wilson, November 2018

MSS 0010 John W. and Mrs. Martha Sneed Davis Family Collection
An Inventory of their Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
October, 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the African American History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002