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Bettye Davis papers

Guide to the Bettye Davis papers

Collection number: HMC-1127.
Creator: Davis, Bettye
Title: Bettye Davis papers.
Volume of collection: 1.8 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Records of a female African American Alaska senator, representative, Anchorage School board member, and community advocate.

Biographical note:

Bettye Davis was born in Homer, Louisiana. She received her nursing degree from St. Anthony’s College and in 1971 she received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Grambling State University. She moved to Anchorage in order to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1972. From 1972-1975, Davis worked for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute as a nurse and social worker. From 1975-1989, she worked with the Department of Health and Social Services as a childcare specialist, social worker, and foster care coordinator. Davis served two terms on the Anchorage School Board: 1982-1989 and 1997-1999. Davis became the first African American woman elected to the Alaska State House of Representatives in 1990 and served from 1990-1996. In 1997, she was appointed to the Alaska State Board of Education. Davis became the first African American elected to the Alaska State Senate in 2000 and served as a senator for Anchorage’s District K till 2012. While working in the House and the Senate, Bettye Davis focused on bills related to children, education, health, and social issues. Bettye Davis was elected to the Anchorage School Board in 2013.

In addition to her work in politics, she was involved in community organizations and advocacy. She hosted numerous conferences and events. In 1991, she was in involved with the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Alcan Highway Construction that was held on July 4-5, 1991. The program commemorated African American World War II veterans who participated in the construction of the Alcan Highway.  Bettye Davis hosted the 2007 African American Summit Conference that was held August 31 to September 2. The theme was “Strengthening the African American Community.” Davis also hosted the African American National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL/Women) conference. It was held from June 24-27, 2010 in Anchorage. To recognize the women who served in the Alaska legislature, she hosted the event, “Women’s History Month: Alaska’s Women from the Territorial Times to the 27th Alaska State Legislature” on March 16, 2012 in Juneau.

Collection description:

The collection contains records related to her time running for and serving on the Anchorage School Board, the Alaska State House of Representatives, Alaska State Senate, and hosting community events and conferences. Records related to her political career include administrative records of her legislative and campaign offices, campaign literature, portrait photographs, and photographs of the different caucuses and events in which she participated as an elected official. Community related records include the administrative records and photographs of the 50th Anniversary of Celebration of the Alcan Highway Construction in 1991, the 2007 African American Summit Conference, the NOBEL/Women conference in 2010, and the Women’s History Month event to recognize Alaska’s Women from the Territorial Times to the 27th Alaska State Legislature in 2012. In addition, the collection contains awards, letters of appreciation, and photographs of plaques awarded to Bettye Davis for her work in politics and the community.

Arrangement: The collection arrived in no discernable order. Archives retained the arrangement in which the collection arrived at the archives.

Digitized copies: Digital copies of collection material not available online. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to records created by Bettye Davis. For archival materials not created by Bettye Davis, copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives for more information.

Preferred citation: Bettye Davis papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:

“Alaska State Senator Bettye Davis Biography.” Re-Elect Bettye Davis, State Senate.” Friends of Bettye Davis State Senate, 2012. http://www.reelectbettyedavis.org/bio/

Related materials: For more collections related to politics in Alaska, please review our “Alaska State Legislators and legislation” guide.

Acquisition note: The collection was presented to the Archives and deed of gift was signed by Bettye Davis in 2012.

Processing information: This collection was described by Mariecris Gatlabayan in 2012. Archival materials that were in binders, albums, and frames were rehoused in archival safe folders and photo enclosures.

Container list:

Box/Folder Description Date
1/1 A history of bills introduced and passed in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate by Bettye Davis. Compiled by Thomas S. Obermeyer. 1991-2012
1/2 List and photographs of plaques and awards. Certificates that were retained are in box 1, folder 2 and Oversize box 1, folder 5. 1976-2012, undated
1/3 Photographs of a party and Bettye Davis photograph portraits. undated
1/4 Article clippings and newspapers from scrapbook that documents Bettye Davis’ time served on Anchorage School Board. 1982-1989, undated
1/5 2012 Senate election campaign ads. 2012
1/6 “David Jenson: photographer.” Photographs taken by David Jenson. Includes letters sent to constituents during the 2012 election and event flyers. 1992-2012, undated
1/7 Photographs of Bettye Davis, group photograph taken outdoors at Governor Bill Sheffield event; group photograph of Bettye Davis and 11 other women of African American descent; newspaper article related to 2012 senate election; and, 2004 senate campaign informational brochure. 1980-2012, undated
1/8 2012 Senate election campaign door hangers and flyers. 2012
1/9 “Leading Women of the 21st Century: Transforming Health & Energy for the Future.” NOBEL/Women 2010 Annual Legislative Conference program. 2010 June 24-27
1/10-1/12 “50th Anniversary Celebration Alcan Highway Construction” binder. Files contains the administrative and program records for events. 1991-1992
2/1 “Photos.” Includes digital images on CDs in addition to print photographs. Photos depict events in which Bettye Davis participated. 1990-2012, undated
2/2 “2012 Women’s History Month: Alaska’s Women from the Territorial Times to the 27th Alaska State Legislature” binder. File contains administrative and program files for the event, electronic copies of PowerPoint presentations, and DVD recording of event. 2012
2/3 Photographs and certificates removed from frames. Contains group photographs of Senate Minority caucus; sitting U.S. women senators (signed by Lisa Murkowski); Alaskan women legislators with Lisa Murkowski, Bettye Davis and Mark Begich; the Alaska Health Care Strategies Planning Council; the 22nd Minority Council Caucus and staff; Fran Ulmer and Bettye Davis; Governor Clark signing women’s suffrage bill; Certificate of Recognition from the Association of Alaska School Boards; Fran Ulmer portrait; Bettye Davis and 3 unidentified people; U.S. female senators with personal message from Lisa Murkowski; Bettye Davis, Lisa Murkowski and two other women posing in front of map of Alaska; Alaska Bipartisan Senate Working Group signed by its members; and portrait of Bettye Davis. 1990-2012, undated
2/4 Photographs and certificates removed from frames. Contains group photographs of 2010 Alaska State Senate Working Group; 26th Alaska’s Legislature Bipartisan Working Group; Davis, Georgianna Lincoln, Beth Kerttula and two other women sitting at table; Senator Georgianna Lincoln being sworn in; Davis after being inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010; Covenant House youth, staff, and board of directors; Mark Begich, Pastor Alonzo Patterson and Davis; Lisa Murkowski and Alaska State Legislators; and certificate of appreciation from William Tyson Elementary School (2006, February 24). 1992-2012, undated
oversize folder


Photograph of “Representative Bettye Davis, Councilman Deaniel Tavor, Mayor Sharon Pratte Dixon, and Judge Veronica Simm at the National Policy Institute Annual Dinner” held by the Joint Center for Political Economic Studies. 1991 April 9
oversize 1/2 Executive Proclamation by Governor Sean Parnell proclaiming March 2012 as Women’s History Month. 2012 February 29
oversize 1/3-oversize1/4 African American Summit 2007: 2 albums that contain photographs of the events and lists of committees and organizers. 2007



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