Generations apart- same goals

Published 4:17 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

By By EMILY DREITZLER / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles High School 2005 graduate, Kate Whittaker, was named the recipient of this year's Elisha and Nann Davis Academic Scholarship.
Kate was one of many applicants from the Niles and Brandywine school systems to submit a 500 word essay. She detailed her goals, extra-curricular activites, and academic achievements while attending Niles Community Schools.
The Elisha and Nann Davis Academic Scholarship, which was established in 2000, is a $500 one-time scholarship to a deserving senior student attending Brandywine or Niles high school.
Whittaker was chosen by the IDDFAR Inc. scholarship committee members, along with Nann Davis herself. IDDFAR Inc. (Issac and Dora Family Reunion Incorporated) is the Davis family non-profit foundation that was created in September of 2001. The purpose of the foundation is to develop, establish, and implement charitable, educational, and human service programs.
Nann Davis is currently 98 years old and the mother of 14 children. She has been a member of the Niles community for the past 71 years. Her husband, Elisha, passed away in September 1986.
There is a significant amount of history behind the Elisha and Nann Davis Scholarship which makes it "a special and unique scholarship to me." said Whittaker.
Elisha and Nann Davis were married November 22, 1927, in Brownsville, Tenn. They settled in the Niles community in the later part of 1928. The illness and death of Elisha's father found the family returning to Brownsville where Elisha, Nann, and their children remained for six years. Elisha was an avid civil rights activist and, along with four of his friends, formed a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Elisha, along with his fellow NAACP members, was in hopes that he and his fellow blacks would be able to obtain the right to vote in the 1940 presidential election.
On June 15, 1940, Elisha had upset some members of the local community with his continued activism and was taken by force from his home by the Klu Klux Klan. He was later reunited with Nann and his children in the late summer of 1940, in Niles.
Elisha continued his activism within the community until his health worsened, making the committment become something that he could do no longer.
Given Elisha and Nann's courageous and fascinating history, their children have chosen to honor their parents by awarding the Elisha and Nann Davis Academic Scholarship.
Whittaker, this year's recipient, is a three-year varsity basketball player, a four-year varsity softball player, an active member of the marching, jazz, and pep band, a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the Disciples of Christ, and was a drum major her Junior year of high school.
When asked how she felt when she heard she was this year's recipient of the scholarship, she replied, " I was very excited."
When asked how he felt when his daughter won the scholarship, Jeff Whittaker replied " I was very proud." He continued saying, "It (the scholarship) is a blessing."
Whittaker also received the Rotary scholarship and the Niles Daily Star/Leader Publications Athlete of the Year scholarship.
Whittaker plans to attend Kalamazoo Valley Community College this fall and major in nursing.
To contact IDDFAR or to make a donation, you may reach them at 684-8126 or send an e-mail to