Lewiston Morning Tribune|
Sunday, July 14, 1957
The Death Of Blue Pete Davis
Milton H. (Blue Pete) Davis came to Lewiston 53 years ago as a young stranger seeking his fortune. Yesterday he died at the age of 77, and a young waitress who heard of it said, "Oh, you know Blue Pete! He was one of the town's best landmarks."
This was the truth. He was one of this valley's landmarks. And he was one of the best.
Whatever he may have been searching for when he arrived to seek his fortune, Mr. Davis found in this valley respect, honor, and the affection of a host of friends. Those of us who did not know him intimately but only through his civic services and functions shared the impression of his close friends that here was a man of remarkable accomplishments.
Mr. Davis got his nickname in Chicago in 1898 when he advised a bettor at a race track to plunge on a 20 to 1 shot named "Blue Pete." The horse came in a winner. Mr. Davis acquired a share of the winnings - and a nickname that stayed with him all his life.
As a boy he attended the famous Tuskegee Institute, and he was there when Dr. George Washington Carver joined the faculty in 1907. The Carver philosophy - that the Negro in America should be infinitely patient and humble in working his way up gradually on the ladder of acceptance in a world sadly afflicted with racial acceptance - has been criticized sharply in recent years. Whether he shared in it or not, Mr. Davis was a man of dignity and patience. But he was no servile man. He was something of a confidante of industrial and civic leaders in Lewiston most of his life, and he earned that place not by reason of race but because of the multitude of his interests and the soundness of his common sense.
It was perhaps his greatest service to this community, indeed, that he demonstrated so fully and over so many years that good judgement does not depend upon education, race or creed. Because he was for many ears about he only Negro that many Lewiston residents knew, it was a matter of the utmost importance to him and to his race that he created a good impression in the community. This he did by taking a keen, intelligent interest in the life of his neighbors and his community. The achievements of those of us who preach about improved racial understanding were dwarfed indeed by the accomplishments of this man who simply lived a continuing lesson. What he did to pave the road for others who came after him cannot be computed, but obviously he achieved much more for his fellow men than most of us are privileged to achieve.
It must have been a lonely life at times. Undoubtedly there were trials and bitter disappointments. But it was a life of significance and lasting importance in this community, and there will be hundreds and thousands who will remember that his was a life eminently worth living.