Due to COVID-19 concerns but realizing that our youth are still involved, active, and agents of change! Our online program will be on Thursdays from 4:30-6:30 pm and include a host of local, national, and international guests who will critically engage our scholars in preparing to be agents of change.

As an extension of LEAD, the Ralph E. Davis Leadership Scholars Academy aims to build leader scholars for active community engagement with a cognizant mind of responsibility to self, responsibility to others, and an acknowledgment of this responsibility to their community through local and state partnerships, educational trainings and mentorship.

The academy is directed toward youth from underserved populations in the region and has been carefully designed to bring to the forefront the agentive potential of the youth of Southern Appalachian region. For all youth, developing a critical consciousness whereby, in the words of Paolo Freire, they can read both text and the world and, in doing so, be agents of change in their communities. This means that they understand how layered systems of inequality are and instead of being prisoners to those systems, their knowledge, activism, and creative, community-based problem solving makes them agentive forces of change and innovation.

Starting in the Fall of 2020, The Ralph E. Davis Leadership Scholars Academy will bring together a cohort of 15 students from each of Johnson City’s designated after school programs to participate in a citizen leadership workshop, summer service internship, and community forum.

Who Was Ralph E. Davis?

Ralph Davis was a local resident, husband, and father who garnered the respect of his neighbors to become an esteemed community leader. Ralph never yearned for power; instead, he spoke truth to power. He used his influence to strengthen the community as opposed to himself. Along with his devoted wife Glodine, Ralph exemplified the image of “everyday people” dedicated to social justice.

Ralph Davis was a conscientious leader who embraced two key aspects of nonviolent civil disobedience. First, he collected the facts. This took in-depth investigation along with very good listening skills. Second, he embraced negotiation. He always looked for ways to build consensus to positively impact the
community. Ralph had a genuine concern for the community and its overall uplift.

Ralph’s service to the community was in private as well as public. But, to many in the community, he was known as President of the NAACP of Johnson City-Washington County from 2000-2009 and from 2012 until his death. He also served the TN Conference of NAACP Branches as East TN Regional Vice-President. He was instrumental in the formation and development of the UMOJA Cultural and Arts Foundation, the hosts of the region’s annual Unity Festival. Ralph was also an early contributor to the Johnson City Police Department’s “Community Roundtable.” Following the events in Ferguson, MO, former Police Chief Mark Sirois looked for a way to bring police and community together. Ralph used his influence to ensure that the community understood and supported the Roundtable.


The RED Academy is the product of many amazing people working together to build this new opportunity for students in Johnson City.
Jean Swindle, PhD
Adam Dickson
Langston Centre Supervisor
Lisa Dunkley, PhD
Deidra Rogers, MA
Nathan Bailey
Social Media Liason


The Ralph E. Davis Scholars Academy is made possible by the following partners.

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Langston Centre
315 Elm St.
Johnson City, TN 37601
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