Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speaks before a memorial street sign to honor former Clerk Magistrate Abbie Davies is unveiled on May 17.
Reminder Publishing photos by Bill Zito

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic Sarno, Police Superintendent Lawrence Akers and Hampden County Clerk Magistrate Donald Whitney joined other officials, supporters and community members for a May 17 ceremony unveiling a memorial street sign to honor former Clerk Magistrate Abbie Davies for her service to the Massachusetts Trial Court and the Springfield community.

Davies, a Springfield resident who lived on Buckingham Place, was the first Black woman to serve as a clerk magistrate in the Massachusetts Trial Court. Appointed to the position in 1997, she served the Springfield Juvenile Court and Hampden County Juvenile Court until her retirement in 2009.

Raised in the city, Davies graduated from Commerce High School in 1961. In 1987, with a high school education, she began an entry level position in the Trial Court system. She rose to the position of clerk-magistrate in less than 10 years.

Davies died in 2021; her picture adorns the walls of the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office.

At the sign unveiling ceremony, Sarno praised Davies’ reputation and her impact on the community and progress within the city’s leadership structure, pointing specifically to Akers, the first Black person to hold that position in Springfield.

Sarno read statements from other local leaders to the crowd of attendees at the corner of Buckingham Street and Buckingham Place, including Roderic Ireland, retired chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, who was raised in the Mason Square neighborhood, not far from Davies’ home on Buckingham Place.

Whitney, whose appointment came after Davies, said she was essential to the operation for the courts.

“With her institutional knowledge and my legal training, we were a good team,” he said. “She was a valued colleague and good friend. Abbie’s service to the court was focused on serving our public. She always fulfilled her duties with patience and grace.

Whitney went on to call Davies “a credit to Springfield Public Schools and our city.”

Also present for the ceremony, Davies’ children and their families.

The dedication and unveiling of the sign came after a December 2023 vote by the City Council to erect the memorial in Davies’ honor.