Mobilian honored with street dedication 70 years after his murder

The City of Mobile logo. Photo: FOX10 News

It's a move toward justice. Mobile city leaders giving Tennessee Street an honorary name after a man murdered in the Jim Crow-Era.

"He extended the courtesy and he received cruelty as payment."Cousins of the late Rayfield Davis spoke to a crowd of Mobile city leaders and representatives from the history museum of Mobile and the Civil Right's Restorative Justice Project. Saturday, a road was dedicated in his honor.

In 1948, Davis was left for dead in the ditch."It's a day of sorrow and mourning for a family member we never got a chance to meet in person but because as little kids we played in the ditch and because his blood flows through that ditch we were touched by his life," Davis's first cousin told the crowd.

Police charged Horace Miller for Davis's murder, but a grand jury chose not to indict him. In a quest for reconciliation, Davis's family members reached out to Miller's family. Miller's granddaughter sent them a letter. davis's cousin Nichole Ulmer read it aloud.

Part of it read, "My grandfather's offspring and they are offspring followed by their offspring do not share the same racial view points."

City leaders say it's a step towards justice.

Mobile City Councilman CJ small said, "We know that Mr. Rayford Davis was killed back in 1948 and until this day, he has not received no justice at all. So today is a day that we are really starting the process for over 70 years of trying to seek justice for Mr. Rayford Davis.

Councilwoman Bess Rich added, "It's a healing Process and when you remember the past, you're not going to repeat it."

"My father always reminds me that there were people in the civil rights era that paved the way for me to have the opportunity to do the job that I'm doing today and so I think it marks a great moment in our city that we can come here and we can do this dedication and we can actually extend an apology to the families," Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said.

"The dream did not die in that ditch over there. It lives on in the hearts of the descendants of Mr. Rayfield Davis," another of Davis' cousins added.

Davis' cousins tell us they reached out to Horace Miller but he did not return their calls.

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