She sat poised, alert, laser-focused. Speaking with the voice and diction of a college professor and the words of what white folks would call a “revolutionary.” Angela Davis was no physical threat to them, but she was a mental powerhouse, unshakeable and unbreakable as she stared the white reporter in the eyes, answering his questions that he thought were hard-hitting, and she thought were idiotic and simplistic from a person who had no idea of what it meant to be Black in America.
It was 1972, and the “high-yella” perfectly rounded Afro-rocking sistah held her own, while being interviewed at the California State Prison.
The reporter asked her about the Black Panther Party and to help him understand what a revolution was all about.
He wasn’t ready for what she had to say.
He asked, “How do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation and violence?”
“Oh, is that the question you are asking me?” Davis replied with a smirk, she then led him down a path of exploration into the mind of Blacks who have been targeted, oppressed and on the receiving end of violence for generations.
We revisit this interview and share Davis’ words with you today, because when so many of you are screaming that you are “WOKE,” it is clear some of you really don’t know how it feels to be a person who was never able to get any sleep. Davis and other civil rights fighters from decades ago understand on a deeper level.
Davis eloquently laid it out…….
“When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence without realizing that the real content of any kind of revolutionary threat lies in the principals and the goals that you are striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society is organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions.
“If you are a Black person who’s lived in the Black community all of your life and walk out on the street every day seeing White policemen surrounding you. When I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in LA ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was, but I was a Black woman and I had a natural [natural hair Afro], and they thought that I might have been a militant and when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, whether I approve of violence? That doesn’t make sense at all. Whether I approve of guns? I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs that were planted by racists. From the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street and our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times because of the fact that at any moment, we might expect to be attacked.
“The man at the time who was in charge of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, ‘Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood, we better expect some bloodshed tonight,’ and sure enough, there would be bloodshed.
“After the four young girls[were killed], one of them lived next door to me and I was very good friends with the sister of another one, my sister was very good friends with all three of them, my mother taught one of them in her class. In fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, ‘Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol, we heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.’ And they went down there, and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then after that, all of the men in my neighborhood organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again.
“That’s why when someone asks me about violence, I just find it incredible. Because what that means is the person who is asking that question has no idea what Black people have gone through. What Black people have experienced in this country since the time the first Black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.”
Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. Ideologically a Marxist, Davis was a longtime member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. She’s authored over ten books on class, feminism, race, and the US prison system. After guns she purchased were used by others in a deadly shooting, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover listed Davis on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List. She was later freed of charges.
Music legends John Lennon, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones all paid tribute to Davis in songs. She’s received multiple awards in her lifetime, including 1971 Time Magazine “Woman of the Year” and Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. Davis has also been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Today is not about the Democrats or the Republicans. It is about the Black man and woman trusting in themselves to do the right thing. Educate your mind and lean into thine own understanding.
And when you fight for freedom for your futures, fight for the innocent who were murdered in the past. Never forget the “Four Little Black Girls” Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair who died on September 15, 1963 when four members of the Ku Klux Klan – Thomas Blanton, Robert Chambliss, Bobby Cherry and Herman Cash — planted 19 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps on the east side of the 16th Street Baptist Church. These are the girls Davis were talking about, and their deaths are part of the reason she joined the revolution so many whites are afraid of.
What’s your WHY? Do you know? Think about it.