Days of our Lives

Days of our Lives Black History Month Flashback: Meet Eli’s Trailblazing Parents

Days of our Lives Black History Month Flashback: Meet Eli's Trailblazing ParentsDays of our Lives Black History Month Flashback: Meet Eli's Trailblazing Parents

On Days of our Lives, Lani Price Grant just came face to face with her biological father. She’s going to need a lot of emotional support. And there is no one better to give it to her than her husband, Eli Grant, who only found out about his own biological dad a few years ago – not to mention his connection to the Hortons, the first family of Salem.

Days of our Lives History

But while Lani’s (Sal Stowers) paternity shocker came out of the blue, DAYS viewers had been there for the love story of Eli’s (Lamon Archey) parents from the beginning.

History Lesson

The United States had legalized interracial marriage in 1967 via Loving v. Virginia (though several states had accepted it earlier), but Black and white romantic pairings remained extremely rare in movies and on television, including on daytime.

Growing up, the angry young man David Banning found his mother, Julie Olson Williams (Susan Seaforth Hayes), overbearing and controlling (oh, how things haven’t changed!). To prove his maturity, David, more or less, ran away from home. He only came back in 1975 in order to collect an inheritance from his grandmother, Addie Horton (Hope’s biological mother). His relationship with Julie hadn’t improved much, and, one night, after a particularly nasty fight, David jumped into Doug Williams’ (Bill Hayes) car and drove off a bridge, to be presumed dead.

Finders, Keepers

David, of course, wasn’t dead. He was hiding out with the African-American Grant family, where he soon fell in love with their daughter, Valerie. As Valerie’s portrayer, Tina Andrews, recalled years later to January Magazine:

“There was such wonderful chemistry between Valerie and David Banning, played by actor Richard Guthrie, that the writers slowly developed an interracial relationship between the two”…(A)s the relationship between Valerie Grant and David Banning heated up, her fan mail bottomed out, going from “100 percent positive” to largely negative and hostile. Valerie Grant’s character was shipped off to Stockholm and Andrews was canned.

Plot Twist

Ironically enough, David and Valerie’s relationship ended the first time because David’s one-night stand, Trish, turned up pregnant with David’s baby. David and Trish got married, had a son, Scotty, and broke up again.

Valerie returned to Salem in the early 1980s and she and David tried to rekindle their romance, but, this time around, the chemistry just wasn’t there. (Possibly because both David and Valerie were now being played by different actors.) But something must have gone right because that would have been the period when Eli was conceived.

Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on DAYS spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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