Ms. Eva Davis and her family were the second set of residents to move into East Lake Meadows in 1971. Ms. Davis founded and served as the president of the tenants association for more than 30 years. She also served as an Atlanta Housing Authority Board Commissioner for 17 years, and as a City of Atlanta License Review Board Member for more than five years. She was a staunch advocate for her neighbors and was the voice of the community through very turbulent times.
Ms. Davis’ work during the Civil Rights Movement included assisting Reverend Joseph Boone with voter registration drives throughout Atlanta’s African-American communities. She partnered with Ethel Mae Matthews, Father Ford, and other Civil Rights Leaders to push legislation for better Welfare Rights for the poor. She also was instrumental in the lawsuit against the Atlanta Board of Education, which afforded Atlanta’s lowest income families the opportunity to send their children to higher performing schools.
In the early 1990s, Ms. Davis worked with former President Jimmy Carter and local Atlanta leaders to secure more than $30M from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Ms. Davis was part of the historic convoy that met with then U.S. HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.
During the mid-1990s, Ms. Davis worked closely with entrepreneur and philanthropist Tom Cousins, fellow residents, the Atlanta Housing Authority and the city of Atlanta to re-envision East Lake Meadows and to develop The Villages of East Lake, a mixed-income apartment complex. Their work together substantially increased the scope of her vision and the resources to implement it, creating a comprehensive East Lake campus. Ms. Davis was also a strong force behind the development of Charles R. Drew Charter School, a school that has provided high-quality education for generations of her family, including currently her local great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
In her later years, Ms. Davis became a tireless advocate for the East Lake Foundation’s holistic model of community revitalization, speaking at national and local conferences and hosting out-of-town visitors to see a transformed East Lake. Her advocacy and vision for a more promising future for economically-disadvantaged families has inspired positive changes in affordable housing and economic development policies throughout the country. She became known not only as a champion for East Lake, but also as a nationally recognized voice for tenant rights and high quality housing.
Ms. Davis passed away in 2012 at her home in The Villages of East Lake, a place that she loved dearly.