Updated: Apr 23
At the beginning of the year, we sat down with the very first Palmer Scholar. Before Palmer Scholars was a formal organization, Merle Palmer and Rev. Al Davis were two men dedicated to mentoring and financially supporting the youth in our community through their postsecondary program. After looking through a photo album Merle put together, we found a picture of a young man in a suit by the name of Sol. Under his picture, Merle typed with his famous typewriter, “the inspiration for Eastside Church Minority Scholarship Foundation,” the original name for what would become Palmer Scholars.
As an organization, we often talk about our history as beginning in 1983 with two young men from Lincoln High School. What we found, however, is our story begins long before then and is rooted in the Eastside Assembly of Believers with the family of Rev. Al Davis. Upon sitting down with Sol, we learned that he is actually Rev. Al’s younger brother.
In his earliest years of thinking about supporting low-income students of color throughout Pierce County, Merle formed a strong friendship with Rev. Al. In 1976, his senior year at the University of Washington, Rev. Al’s younger brother Sol received a $100 check from Merle. For Sol, this $100 would have paid for more than half of his quarterly tuition. Though he didn’t know Merle on a personal level, he would serve as the catalyst for Merle and Rev. Al’s generosity for years to come.
This generosity was passed down from Rev. Al to his son, the current leader of the Eastside Assembly of Believers, Pastor Alex Davis. We are excited to announce that beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the Eastside Community Church will sponsor one Palmer Scholar with a scholarship. The inaugural Alfred and Mary Davis Community scholarship recipient is 2020 Harrison Prep graduate Michelle Rogers. Michelle will be attending the University of Washington to, like Sol, pursue accounting. Nearly 45 years after Sol became the first to receive a scholarship from Merle, the Davis family continues its legacy of generosity and commitment to our greater community.
This post was sponsored by Glisson &
Morris Attorneys at Law.