Carole McReynolds Davis
1942 – 2014
Carole McReynolds Davis is known in Oktibbeha County for her art. Her daughter said in her nomination, “through my mother’s artwork, she broke down racial barriers in this community.” She was born and raised in Starkville, and she spent her life painting the people and countryside of the area.
She was a member of the first Race Relations Team in Starkville in the 1990’s, and she was present at a meeting of the Race Relations Team and other citizens, when it was decided to make the Martin Luther King Jr. Day a celebration for all of the people of the community. At the first unified Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she unveiled a painting of Martin Luther King himself, and explained in an artist’s language what she saw in his face. She continued to produce a painting, with her personal descriptions, for that celebration for many years, and it became a ritual in the MLK ceremonies to which everyone looked forward. Among those painted for that day, along with Martin Luther King, were Dr. Douglas L. Conner, Cool Papa Bell, Ned Gandy, Reverend Mike O’Brien, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church and who was present at the meeting to decide the unification of the MLK celebration, Dorothy Bishop, Jeanne Marszalek, Dorothy Isaac, and finally, the march itself.
In addition, to her artwork, she was known for assisting, promoting and fundraising for organizations that worked to help the underprivileged in the community. Through her loving spirit, her art work, and interest in the betterment of others, she brought unity to the Starkville Community.