Ferriday leader dies

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; Sammy Davis Jr., Ferriday&8217;s first black mayor, died early Friday morning leaving a legacy of community activism behind.

Davis was elected mayor in 1984 and served one term before being defeated by Glen McGlothin. He was on the Ferriday Town Council from 1997 to 2005, a seat previously held by his wife before her death.

Davis was also a police juror for 12 years and ran for a seat in the state House of Representatives. He was defeated by Bryant Hammett.

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He retired from his councilman seat in 2005 for health reasons.

&8220;Sammy Davis to me was a mentor, a civil rights activist and an educator,&8221; Alderman Johnnie Brown said. &8220;He was always concerned about the children and the elderly.&8221;

Brown said Davis was a big influence on his own political career and helped make him who he is today.

&8220;We would talk from time to time about issues,&8221; Brown said. &8220;A lot of my directness comes from him. He was truly a person that stood up and stood out for the benefit of all.&8221;

Before his political career began Davis was a teacher and a principal in Ferriday.

Odeal Montgomery &8212;also a former Ferriday mayor &8212; worked alongside Davis as a teacher, then for him when he was principal.

&8220;He was an active man who always believed in making a contribution and he did make a contribution,&8221; Montgomery said. &8220;When he was a principal he wanted his teachers to be devoted to teaching for results and helping children. He walked the halls to make sure it was happening. He taught for results and really wanted to see children make it.&8221;

Davis had three main concerns throughout his life, Brown said, children, elderly and jobs for Ferriday residents.

&8220;He had compassion for children and wanted them to have recreation,&8221; Brown said. &8220;He always wanted to create jobs for the community and better housing.&8221;

Davis was instrumental in the development of the Montgomery Square Apartments, former mayor Glen McGlothin said.

Davis served as an alderman while McGlothin was mayor, even after McGlothin defeated Davis in a previous mayoral race.

&8220;We formed a friendship after that,&8221; McGlothin said. &8220;He was a kind enough gentleman that that&8217;s just how it was.&8221;

Davis was a resident of Camelot Leisure Living most recently. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, but services are loosely planned for next weekend.