Black History Today: Jerrell Davis, an unsung revolutionary

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

jerrell davis.jpg

“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.”
-Malcolm X

By Marcus Harden


Many people speak of narrative change but are often afraid to be in the trenches. It takes an ecosystem to create change, yet often times those who are the champions for and by the people get overlooked, their revolutionary presence lost in photo ops and small victories.

Yet it was once said that you can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution. One man that embodies the revolutionary and the revolution is Jerrell G. Davis.

Jerrell is one of the most passionate, humble and service-minded advocates for change the city of Seattle and the nation have ever seen. Wise beyond his trips around the sun, he selflessly spends his time, talent, treasure and energy serving as a catalyst for change.

Whether he is helping young people find their civic-minded voice, spending late nights supporting in a mentor/big brother role to any and all who cross his path, or modeling the way by putting his face in front of injustice and standing firm, he teaches not only through words but through who he is.

He along with many other powerful activists in the South End (the crown jewel, Rainier Beach High School to be exact) continue to advocate not only for political change, but for empowerment of the very community that he continually stays in service to (see citywide Orca cards for all high school students as an example).

What is most impressive about Jerrell is that he does all of this and fades into the background. No photo ops. No op-eds. No fancy jackets. He just does the work and then continues doing the work.

You know a tree by the fruit that it bears, and Jerrell Davis is continually planting seeds that will harvest revolutionary action and revolutionary results. True leadership isn’t creating more followers, it is shaping new leaders. That is the hallmark of who he is, and that is why Jerrell Davis is Black history, today.