Frank Marshall Davis was a noted American writer, journalist and poet who was a part of the Harlem Renaissance Movement and worked at the American Negro Press in Chicago before moving to Hawai’i in 1949. He continued working at a journalist writing a weekly column (Frankly Speaking) for the Honolulu Record paper. Barack Obama mentioned Frank Marshall Davis in Obama’s autobiography Dreams From My Father as a friend of his grandfather and an African American who made an impression on him as a young man growing up in Hawai’i.
Washington University’s Film & Media Archive and the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu partnered together to preserve and digitize an interview conducted with Davis in 1987. The interview was meant to be part of a longer documentary but Davis died before the program was completed. A shorter 30-minute program was created as a tribute to Davis for the Rice and Rose series produced by CLEAR, and aired on Hawai’i Public Television.
The Frank Marshall Davis Collection consists of the entire interview and includes news clipping and photographs, also existing on video tape, from Davis’ personal papers. The complete transcript and video of Interview with Frank Marshall Davis conducted by Chris Conybeare and Joy Chong is now available. The interview was gathered by the University of Hawaii’s Center for Labor Education & Research for the series Rice & Roses. A portion of the digitized interview is available to view on the Film and Media Archive’s YouTube channel.