From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Davis, William Emory "Bunny"

(born: June 6, 1917  -  died: October 12, 2001) 

Born in Perryville, KY, William E. Davis played football, baseball, and basketball at Bate High School in Danville, KY. An all-state forward in basketball, he was selected to play on the All American Negro High School basketball team of 1936. It is thought that Davis was the first African American basketball player to be named an All-American.

Davis could run the 100-yard dash in 9.7 seconds. He played semi-pro baseball prior to integration: in 1947 he joined the Lexington Hustlers, the first integrated baseball team in the South. Davis was the first African American to umpire baseball games in the Southeastern Conference and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Davis was also the chief doorkeeper for the Kentucky House of Representatives. He owned Bunny's Moving Service Company.

William E. Davis was the son of Lloyd and Hester J. Sleet Davis.

For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; "William 'Bunny' Davis, Athlete Commissioner," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/14/2001, Obituaries, p. B2; and his entry in the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. See also the interview recordings with William E. "Bunny" Davis available at the Louie B. Nunn Oral History Collection in the Special Collections Research Center, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Perryville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Lexington Hustlers Baseball Team
NKAA Source: Shadows of the past: a history of the Kentucky High School Athletic League
NKAA Entry: Stout, Louis
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Davis, William Emory "Bunny",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-11 17:10:38