Clifford Davis (politician)

Clifford Davis ( born November 18, 1897 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, † June 8, 1970 in Washington, DC ) was an American politician. He represented the state of Tennessee 1940-1965 as a deputy in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Early years

As Clifford Davis was 14 years old, his family moved to Memphis. There he finished high school and in 1917 the Law School of the University of Mississippi. His license to practice law in Tennessee, he got in 1918.

Civil Service

In 1923, Davis judge in Memphis. He practiced this activity until 1927. From 1928 to 1940 he was Deputy Mayor and Commissioner of Public Safety. He was a close associate of Memphis ' political leader Edward Crump.


The seat of the 10th Congress of the district, which included Memphis in 1940 was released. The incumbent Walter Chandler, who held the seat three terms, was elected mayor of Memphis. Through the intervention of Crump Davis got the Democratic nomination for the post. In those days, in most parts of Tennessee's nomination was equivalent to an election ( the exception was the Republican East). Davis won the special election and took the vote on February 15, 1940. This term was followed by eleven more.

Davis ' district, after Tennessee had lost a district by the Census of 1950, renamed the 9th Tennessee District.

Crump died in 1954, but many of his protégés remained for years in their positions. So Davis has been re-elected five more times after Crump's death. During this time Davis participated at the 1956 Constitution of the Southern Manifesto, a letter which spoke out against racial integration in public institutions. Further, Davis was chairman of the election committee issue, a group that has been commissioned to find a legal way to control the money influence on politicians. Only years later, the campaign finance after the Watergate scandal was realized.

Davis was one of five deputies who were shot on March 1, 1954 at the U.S. Capitol, when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened by a visitor balcony fire on the members of the House of Representatives. Davis was shot in the leg. He was not seriously wounded.


In the 1960s the area around Memphis was much more friendly for the Republican influence, partly because of a massive change of white Democratic voters. This influence made ​​up for Davis in the election of 1962 felt when he defeated the Republican challenger narrowly by just 1200 votes. This shocked especially against the background that he was unopposed for re-election two years earlier.

In August 1964 Davis lost the Democratic primary against George W. Grider, a retired Navy officer and lawyer. After that Davis did not go back to Memphis, but to Washington DC, where he carried on his work as a lawyer until his death. He was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis.


The Clifford Davis Federal Building in Memphis, Tennessee bears his name.