Meet the Late Leila McPherson Davis
Vernon M. Herron
The Late Leila McPherson Davis
“She is not dead who is remembered”
Herron Speaks blog honors the late Mrs. Leila McPherson Davis, my beloved aunt and sister of my mother. She was born 1907 and passed 1990 at the age of 83 after 20 years of illness. She was the youngest of 13 children and the only one to finish high school and college.
Leila attended the Myers Street School which was the first school established for Blacks in Mecklenburg County, NC where she taught for 40 years. She was my second grade teacher. She also taught for one year at the First Ward Elementary School and for two years at Lansdowne.
Having attended Second Ward High, Winston Salem Teachers College, Johnson C. Smith University, Leila received a Master of Arts Degree from Columbia University in New York in 1958. In 1935, Leila was united in Holy Matrimony to the late Alexander Davis who preceded her in death in1983.
At an early age, Leila was a member of the Galilee Baptist Church of which her father was a deacon. In adulthood, she was a member of the Grace A. M. E. Zion Church for over 55 years. She was an ardent supporter of her family, humanitarian causes and her church. She is remembered because of her ministry to others. How well has it been said, “she is not dead who is remembered.” Then again-
One has but one life to live.
What one does with it determines
Whether one lives or dies
If one decides to serve others and give-
No death but immortality.
Leila used her education, resources and influence to enable others and this had a trickle-down effect on other family members. She was an unstinted supporter of her sister and family (my mother). She underwrote the educational cost of her nephew who along with the help of his late wife underwrote the cost of educating three daughters, one of which is named “Leila McPherson.” “Aunt Leila” further underwrote the educational expense of a niece in nursing education which tripled in many respects. She contributed to the music education of a great nephew who is a Ph.D. and is the father of two highly trained children.
In a 1970 interview, Leila revealed the following:
Her most rewarding Moment:
“To see the molds which I have made developed into productive citizens…paved the way for progress, good human relations, and a better
Her great hope:
“ I want the family members to do great things for themselves, the race and the nation; always being successful and respectful.”
Her wish for posterity:
“I would want them to be honest, courteous, truthful and hard-working with a sense of need to save a portion of earnings; strive to make other
happy, to eradicate hatred and to love all.”
Her conclusion of life:
“Live day by day in such a way, that you will know that you have helped someone. Do good now because once you are dead, that’s it! We will not pass this way again.
THANK GOD, I HAD AN AUNT LEILA