5 Questions with Johnson City NAACP President Ralph Davis

Jonathan Roberts • May 7, 2019 at 5:24 PM

Editor’s Note: Today we begin a series of occasional 5 Questions features regarding the people and families of Johnson City shaping the city’s past, present and future. Look for more in the series over the next several weeks.

As president of the Johnson City/Washington County NAACP, Ralph Davis has done a lot for this community. From organizing efforts to recognize and honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Johnson City to beginning work on a new effort to diversify the local school system, Davis has left his mark on this city.

Ralph Briefly:

Favorite music: R&B and contemporary jazz

Favorite food: Steak and gravy

Hobbies: Collecting music, going to sporting events and traveling

Favorite Books: Big fan of John Grisham and Scott Pratt; currently reading “Slave Stealers” by Timothy Ballard

What are some things you’re proud of accomplishing, is there anything that stands out?

Not really, I just enjoy my community work here in Johnson City with the NAACP; we’ve gotten two really big things done here that I’m proud of. One was establishing (Martin Luther King Jr.) Day in the City and the other was (Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parkway) recently.

Who has inspired you most in your lifetime?

It would probably be my grandmother, because she pushed me to always do better and always be more than I thought I could’ve been. She was a real great influence on my life and then I had a couple of ministers that really influenced me too.

If you could change anything in the United States, what would it be?

I would really pray that we could honestly sit down and have honest conversations with ourselves — with each other. And not just talk at each other or talk just to make each other feel good, but talk to solve these internal problems we have.

With the state of politics where they are currently, how are you feeling about it, both nationally and locally?

On the local level, I feel we’re doing OK here in the city and county and for the most part — the state. But nationally, I’m scared. I’m really terrified, I just don’t know where we’re going. I just see so much divisiveness and hate here in the country and I just don’t want it to come and affect us anymore than it has here in the city, because it’s bad.

What’s something that gives you hope for the future?

Locally, it seems that the commissioners that we have here in the city — for the most part — are pretty open to change and doing things for the betterment of the city. But one thing I’ve noticed, is that if you don’t vote and you don’t talk to the politicians, you don’t get anything done, so we really need to be more engaging to our elected leaders. Nationally, I don’t know what’s going on, I just can’t sort it out right now. I’m just hoping and praying that it all comes together soon.

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