Derek T. Davis

Derek T. Davis South Florida native, Derek T. Davis is a cultural publicist and advocate who has successfully managed historic properties, visual arts exhibits and performing arts project for more than a decade. Born in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida, he has worked at local newspapers such as the Miami Herald and the Miami Times, at private corporations such as the Florida Power and Light Company, at the non-profit corporation known as the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, and at government agencies such as the Broward County African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.
Davis’ first major thrust into the arena of cultural advocacy began when he was in high school at Miami Edison Senior High School. While a senior at a school that had just experienced its second racial protest, Davis wrote a play that helped promote racial understanding at the school. The play was organized by one of the schools guidance counselors, Enid Johnson. The play was called “Black Search for a Future.” The play was a fanciful series of historical skits presented to a frustrated African-American student who was disgruntled because of how she was being falsely accused of being a trouble maker at the school.The play was lauded in the Miami Herald and subsequently videotaped by Channel 10 and aired throughout South Florida. The play also led to Davis working at the Miami Herald as a cub reporter while in high school and his majoring in Journalism after graduating from Miami Edison. By the time he graduated with a degree in Mass Communication from Florida Atlantic University, Davis was working as an intern general assignment reporter at the Miami Herald.
He then moved to the largest African-American weekly newspaper in the area, The Miami Times, and worked under the tutelage of its editor and publisher Garth Reeves, Sr. As a reporter at the Miami Times, Davis developed stories on civil rights activists and cultural personalities for the paper.
After four years at the Miami Times, he worked for 13 years in the corporate communications department of Florida Power and Light Company. His responsibilities at FPL included reporting of the department’s $10 million budget, producing campaigns and collateral materials for corporate projects, developing trade show exhibitions and quality improvement team leader.
After reorganization at FPL, he moved to become the executive director of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida. At this non-profit historical society, his responsibilities included administering more than $7 million in grants for operating and building restoration projects, developing cultural and educational programs and managing the day-to-day operations of a research repository and a historical legitimate theater. At the Black Archives he was mentored by public historian Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields.
As executive director of the Black Archives, Davis developed community outreach activities, cultural and educational programs, and exhibitions of local and regional interest. He created partnerships with many community organizations, agencies and educational institutions, and immersed himself in
the art, culture, history and literature of people of African descent. Davis worked at the Black Archives for nine years.
For the next five years, he was the Head of Exhibits and Programs at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. The Library is a 60,000 square-foot facility and the third public library in the nation to house an extensive collection on African, African-American and Caribbean heritage, cultures and histories. In addition to the 75,000 books and ephemera, the facility includes a 300-seat auditorium, 5,000 square-foot exhibit hall, meeting rooms and a computer-training lab. At the Library, Davis coordinated cultural programs and exhibits for the public.
In 2007, Davis was hired as the curator of the Old Dillard Museum, a facility on the National Register of Historic Sites and owned by Broward County Public Schools. At the museum he has developed exhibits, tours, jazz concerts and festivals on African American Culture. He has developed projects such as the Cannonball Jazz Series, The Florida Emancipation Day Mini-festival, The Pre-Kwanzaa Jazz Concert, Writer’s Serenade (a combination of spoken word and jazz), the Old Dillard Museum Study Group and more. He has installed exhibits and produced catalogs including “Young, Gifted and Black,” “Life Every Voice,” “Sister to Sister,” “Un-Murdered,” “Soul On Ice,” “Peace, Power and the Almighty Dollar,” and more.[/fusion_text][/one_full][/fullwidth]