"Born in New Salem, Pennsylvania, Davis’ father was killed in an accident shortly after his birth, and his mother, Avis Marie Davis Fleming, could not raise him alone. At fourteen months, he was cared for by his maternal grandparents, Willie and Elizabeth Davis in Uniontown, Pennsylvania."
"At age 12, he went to live with his mother and stepfather in Elmira, New York, where he excelled in baseball, basketball, and football in grade school."
"Davis played football for coach Ben Schwartzwalder at Syracuse University from 1959 to 1961, and went on to national fame in each of those three seasons, twice winning first-team All-American honors. Sports writer Al Mallette coined the nickname for Davis, the “Elmira Express”"
"Davis found discrimination prevalent in the American South during his Cotton Bowl visit to host city Dallas, Texas. Author Jocelyn Selim writes that at the banquet following the 1960 game, Davis was told he could only accept his award and then would be required to leave the segregated facility."
"Davis became the first black athlete to be awarded the Heisman Trophy (the highest individual honor in collegiate football). President John F. Kennedy had followed Davis’ career and requested to meet him while he was in New York to receive the trophy."
"Davis signed a three-year, $200,000 contract with the Browns in late December 1961 in San Francisco while preparing for the East-West Shrine Game."
"The Browns’ dream of pairing Davis with Jim Brown took a tragic turn when Davis was diagnosed with leukemia. The rift between Coach Brown and Modell worsened when Modell brought in doctors who said Davis was well enough to play and Brown still refused to allow it."
"Later in 1963, Kennedy sent a telegram to Davis, reading: “Seldom has an athlete been more deserving of such a tribute. Your high standards of performance on the field and off the field, reflect the finest qualities of competition, sportsmanship and citizenship [...]”"
"The disease was incurable and Davis died at age 23 at Cleveland Lakeside Hospital on May 18, 1963."
"A motion picture biography, The Express, directed by Gary Fleder and based on the non-fiction book The Elmira Express: the Story of Ernie Davis by Robert C. Gallagher, began production in April 2007 and was released on October 10, 2008"