02/01/2005 - Around Our Town...People
Robert Davis has a hearty laugh. Interviewing him for this article was somewhat of a challenge as he is gifted with a great sense of humor. When asked how long he had resided in Casper, he responded, "All my life, except the thirteen years I was in prison." We weren't to discover until much later in the interview, that Robert was never in prison.
Robert was born in 1929, the youngest of six siblings. His father, Melvin Davis, worked hard as a painter and paperer to support his family. Robert grew up in the vicinity of Washington and Burlington Streets. His family was among the very first black families to reside in Casper, indeed, in all of Wyoming. His grandmother, Nellie Lockhart, came to Casper in the early 1900's to run a boarding house.
Through the years Robert served in the National Guard, was a driver for the Casper Star Tribune, and eventually retired from the U.S. Post office.
Robert married his wife, Annie, in 1952 when she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law who were stationed in Casper. In description of their courtship, Robert says, "You know how sparks fly between people." Well, the spark ignited a flame still burning after 54 years.
Robert went to school with Reverend James Reeb (see above article, "Greater Love Has No One...."). In response to Black History Month, Robert and his niece, Donna Bonicelli, have shared with Our Town Casper some of their experiences. It has been very hard at times and they have had their feelings deeply wounded. While Robert has been hurt at times by racial prejudice, he tells us it has occurred much less frequently in Casper than elsewhere. Let us remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dream that man "...not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."