Members of the community will get a chance to honor the late Chuck Davis during a celebration at Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St., at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June. 2.
Davis, founder of the African American Dance Ensemble, died May 14. At the Hayti event, a sign-up sheet will be available for anyone who wants to pay their respects to Davis, said E’Vonne Coleman, a friend of Davis who is helping to organize the event. The organizers will be monitoring participants for time, but anyone wishing to pay their respects will be allowed to use whatever form of expression they wish, Coleman said. “This is open for the world community to express whatever they want to express,“ she said. Coleman stressed that the event is “a celebration, not a memorial.”
The African American Dance Ensemble will be performing at the event.
The Hayti celebration coincides with other tributes planned for Davis. A visitation will be held June 2 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Fisher Memorial United Holy Church, 420 E. Piedmont Ave. where the body will lie in state. Also, Durham Mayor Bill Bell will deliver a proclamation honoring Davis at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 3, at Union Baptist Church, 904 N. Roxboro St.
Davis formed the African American Dance Ensemble in 1983, and in addition to his work as a teacher and performer, he was also known for his presence at public events. He was the grand marshal of one or Durham’s early Mardi Gras parades. He led Hayti Heritage Center’s annual celebration of Kwanzaa, stressing the importance of respect for the elders and tradition. He was also known for his hugs, and was a beloved member of the community.