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Tommy Davidson

Thomas "Tommy" Davidson was born (November 10, 1963) in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He is an American comedian, film and television actor. He was an original cast member on the sketch comedy TV show In Living Colour.

As a baby, Tommy’s birth mother literally threw him behind a garbage can and left him there. His adoptive mother, Barbara Jean Davidson said that she had a feeling to look behind the public trash can in the alley and she spied a toddler’s foot poking out from behind a tire in a pile of garbage in Greenville, Miss., From there she took him to the hospital where they didn’t know if he would live or die. Davidson says: “I was damaged pretty bad. I had contusions in my skull, was scarred. The doctors didn’t even know if I was going to live.”

Following his adoption by a white family in 1966, they moved state to state until he was about 5 years old when they moved to the East Coast, Washington, DC at one of the most racially volatile times in American history–two days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was shot and killed. It was after this that he experienced childhood incidents of racial abuse from both white and black people. What he says about his upbring was that: “The love that I got didn’t have any color.”

Davidson met his birth mother in 1998 when he was performing in Wisconsin, where she lived, and invited her and her family to the show. He calls the reunion “an out-of-body experience,” but found it difficult to “acknowledge her as my mother.”
He learned that Gene already had three other children before him and was struggling with addiction. She managed to turn her life around and now works as a minister traveling around the country giving sermons. After some intense conversations, Davidson says he was able to forgive her.
“Because I realized that she didn’t abandon me on purpose,” he writes. “She had no control over what she was doing … What I learned was that a person can do the most awful thing imaginable — abandon her child — and still heal herself … Forgiveness can be powerful.”

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