Edward Davis and Davis Motor Sales
Mr. Edward “Ed” Davis was a trailblazer in the automotive industry and a renowned businessman. As the first Black man to be inducted in the Automotive Hall of Fame and first Black dealership owner (Jet Magazine), Davis began his career as an auto salesman in Detroit. During his time as a salesman, he often experienced gatekeeping and racial discrimination in showroom restrictions and rejected loan requests, yet these obstacles did not deter him. His dedication to his field and partnership with the African American community led to a spike in his sale of automobiles - he outsold many of his counterparts. In 1940, Davis established one of the first African American car dealerships in Detroit known as Davis Motor Sales where he sold Studebaker cars for 16 years. In 1963, he entered a partnership with Chrysler, making him the first black businessmen to sell cars for a major auto company. In 1971, he retired and worked as a manager for the Department of Street Railway Systems. As a mentor to fellow African Americans in his field, he later founded the Edward Davis Scholarship Fund for African American youths who were interested in the automotive field.
“Edward Davis, first Black auto dealer, honored in Detroit.” Jet; Vol. 95, Iss. 9, (Feb 1, 1999): pp. 46-48.
“Edward Davis, first Black Auto dealer, dies in Detroit.” Jet; Vol. 95, Iss. 25, (May 24, 1999): p. 32.
“Edward Davis, 88, First Black To Own A US New-Car Dealership.” Chicago Tribune. May 06, 1999, p. 10.