THE ICON: The Rev. A.L. Davis Jr.
THE LEGACY: If Abraham Lincoln Davis Jr. was burdened by the idea of carrying the name of the Great Emancipator, he didn’t show it. In fact, the Rev A.L. Davis, as he was better known to New Orleanians — or just “the Rev,” depending on just how well you knew him — dedicated his life to helping finish the job the 16th president started. He did it on the streets, where he was involved in sit-ins and civil rights protests in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He did it at City Hall, where he served as the first black member of the New Orleans City Council since Reconstruction. And he did it from the pulpit at New Zion Baptist Church, where he presided for more than 40 years — and where Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Council was born.
THE ARTIST: Queen Hope Parker, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “New Orleans has lost a rare citizen, one who made lasting contributions both spiritually and politically. I worked with and learned from A.L. Davis in the years of the 1960s when the civil rights movement was first getting underway. I know first-hand of the cause he helped lead and I know of the faith that carried him through some very difficult times.” — Dutch Morial, in 1978