Studied the liberal arts at the Maryland University, Baltimore through 1942.
Became a sports reporter for the Washington Daily News.
Attended Wilson Teachers College, Washington, D.C.
At age 25, became a White House correspondent for Transradio Press.
Created his first painting, Composition I, while still working as a journalist. Initially, Davis was influenced by Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet, as well as the Abstract Expressionist artists, especially Gorky, Pollock, and de Kooning.
Visited the Washington Workshop Center of the Arts, where Washington artist, Jacob Kainen, taught.
First solo exhibition held at Dupont Theater Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Began to work on stripe paintings, and after 1960 worked exclusively with uniform hard-edged all over stripe compositions.
First solo show in New York at the Poindexter Gallery.
Awarded a Bronze Medal for Painting, Biennial Exhibition of American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Began teaching at the Corcoran Gallery Art School.
Received a commission for a 60-foot mural for South Mall Project, New York State Capitol Building, Albany, New York.
Received a commission for a 414-foot painting, Franklin's Footpath, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
Received a commission for a street painting, Niagara, at ARTPARK, Lewiston, New York.
Appointed as commissioner of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.