Davis, the son of a Nathan Davis, a railroad worker, grew up in Collegeville and attended Parker High School. He followed his father as a laborer in the employ of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad for twelve years, leaving only to serve in the U. S. Navy in World War II. For the Navy he was tested at Tuskegee Institute and qualified as a machinist. After returning to Birmingham he applied for a machinist's job with L&N, but was passed over. He filed a federal lawsuit against the company and was fired. He took a job with the post office, then resigned to be a teacher at Abrams High School in Bessemer. When he was fired from his teaching position, he filed another lawsuit. The courts eventually ordered his reinstatement to both jobs. He resigned from the railroad and returned to teaching.
Later he became a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church and served for 40 years as superintendent of its Sunday School. Under the tenure of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Davis became active in the Civil Rights Movement and helped guard Shuttlesworth's parsonage.
|Jefferson County Commission District 1
1986 - 1990
- Manis, Andrew M. (August 3, 1987) "Interview with Reuben Davis." Andrew M. Manis Oral History Interviews. Birmingham Public Library