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Memory Commons

A research guide curating archival and special collections materials related to community commemorations, protests, memorials, and reflective spaces for the Spring 2021 Memory Commons course.

Gen. William Lee Davidson (Revolutionary War)

North Carolina Highway Historical Marker for William Lee Davidson

William Lee Davidson (1740-1781) was a landowner and slaveholder in Rowan (now Iredell) County and a general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. On February 1st, 1781, Davidson was killed in action during the battle at Cowan’s Ford on the Catawba River in North Carolina, as his forces attempted to stop a British army commanded by Cornwallis from crossing the river. Davidson's son, William Lee Davidson II, provided the initial acreage for Davidson and the college was then named in his father's honor. Davidson's historical marker is located on Beatties Ford Road in Huntersville, NC.

For more information, see:

Davidson College War Memorial

War memorial, full image

Davidson College War Memorial

The Davidson College War Memorial commemorates alumni who lost their lives during service. Located behind Elm Row between the Old Well and the Carnegie Guest House. the memorial serves as a place to honor these individuals' service to our country. For more information, see "War Memorials Honor Service, Sacrifice of Davidson Alumni."

Pi Kappa Phi Dedication at war memorial

Dedication from Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity

In 2015, alumni of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity raised funds to create more memorials, including ones for alumni who died in World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A bench also was added to allow visitors to spend time in the space.

World War I memorial

World War I

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

World War II memorial, full

World War II

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

World War II memorial, part one full

World War II

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

World War II memorial, part two full

World War II

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

Korean War memorial

Korean War

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

Vietnam War memorial

Vietnam War

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

Iraq and Afghanistan War Memorial

Iraq and Afghanistan

For a list of individuals who died while in service, please visit this page

World War II Commemorations

On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. This attack prompted the United States to officially enter World War II. Across the nation, men and women mobilized to serve their country. At Davidson, numerous faculty, staff, students, and alumni went into service. 

Many died, including Vereen Bell '32, a novelist and naval officer and George Phifer Erwin '36 and Edward Jones Erwin, Jr. '43, who were brothers and also the sons of a Davidson professor. In total, at least over 100 Davidson alumni lost their lives.

 

A flag hangs against a white wall. The flag has a light-colored star, the number 147, another dark-colored star, and the number 2496 on it.      WWII Service Flag as pictured in 1946 Quips and Cranks

 

In Spring 1946, a service flag was displayed on campus to commemorate students and alumni who served in WWII. The top number, 147, likely refers to the number of students who served and the bottom number, 2496, likely refers to the number of alumni who served. In the 1943 issue of Quips and Cranks, there is a listing of those who went off to serve (view here). The image on the left is an original image of the flag, while the image on the right is from the 1946 Quips and Cranks. In this post-war issue, the names and photographs of those who died while in service are also listed (view here).

On our blog, Around the D, and in our Online Davidson Encyclopedia, you can find entries related to varying aspects of campus life and history. Listed below are select articles related to World War II and Davidson.

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