Elmer L. Davis Sr.

For most of his life, Elmer L. Davis, Sr. pursued a dual career as a director of sacred music for his church, Paradise Baptist, and as a vocal director for Tulsa Public Schools.  His first teaching positions were with the racially separate Bristow and Anadarko public schools. He spent a brief time in Bristow, and then moved to Anadarko, where he spent four years as director of music for Lincoln High School. He returned to college – the University of Oklahoma, on scholarship – and was awarded an M.A. degree in 1957. He then applied for and received a position with the Tulsa Public Schools as an elementary teacher of music. He taught at Ralph Bunche, E. W. Woods, and Barnard until 1971, when he was made supervisor of music for kindergarten through sixth grades, system-wide. He held that position for two years, then rose to the directorship of the TPS vocal music system, a position he held until his death in 1983.

After his high school graduation, Davis spent the summer in California working for Warner Brothers and appearing at the old Palace Theater under the stage name of Lee Lane, a sojourn he repeated the next summer following his first year at Langston University.  He performed at the Skyline Club in Oklahoma City on the same bill with Jimmy Witherspoon, by whom he subsequently was selected to travel for several months as an opening act.  He performed for many club groups around Tulsa, and for others throughout the state, but ultimately returned to gospel music.

Davis died on June 24, 1983.