Angela Davis talks about Black Lives Matter, Beyoncé and feminism

I always thought that Angela Davis was a member of the Black Panther Party. To celebrate 50 years since the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA, I decided to go see Dr. Davis speak at the University of San Francisco, on February 16.

Angela Davis talks to students at the University of San Francisco

Angela Davis talks to students at the University of San Francisco

I did know that she grew up in Birmingham, AL. I knew she was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in connection with a 1970 kidnapping gone bad, resulting in the deaths of Jonathan Jackson, Judge Harold Haley and two others. She was a fugitive for two months before she was arrested.  After a much-publicized trial, she was acquitted by an all-white jury in June, 1972.

Today, she is Professor Emerita at UC Santa Cruz and a world-renowned thinker. While she acknowledged the Black Panther Party in her lecture(she was never an official member but definitely a supporter), she also talked about Beyoncé, Black Lives Matter, and Bernie Sanders.

“It’s a great time to be alive, especially for those who are young because it is a time of resistance,” Dr. Davis said as she opened her talk, speaking directly to the students. “Activism against police violence has produced a new set of circumstances. Students, regardless of racial background, have always been at the forefront of radical activism,” she said, referring to Black Lives Matters and its founders.

“I can say that I am happy that Beyoncé decided to do this evocative performance,” she said, referring to Beyoncé’s Super Bowl tribute to the Black Panther Party. “I embrace the fact that there is a broad conversation that was staged by that performance.”

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Angela Davis at the University of San Francisco

Speaking about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, she said: “It is important that someone like Bernie Sanders is calling for free healthcare and free education.” She has since endorsed Sanders for President.

She concluded with comments about feminism, speaking to the women student activists in the room.  “There isn’t one version of feminism.” She expanded on the concept of feminism by challenging the audience to think about what kind of feminism would liberate the world, mentioning that there was such a thing as anti-black feminism. Dr. Davis qualified her brand of feminism as “anti-capitalist feminism.”

This event was sponsored by the Black Student Union at the University of San Francisco.

About Saleem Gilmore

I am an Oakland native who grew up in the early 1970's. My parents moved the family to Texas in the 1980's to get my brother and me away from the violence of the neighborhood. I returned in the early 1990's for good. I became a classroom teacher and found my niche working with African American boys. I later began working in community based organizations. For over 25 years, I have worked in the Bay Area. My interest in media grew out of my attempts to keep up with my students and their new forms of communication. I am ready to take my experience to the next level through training, peer exchange and doing. View all posts by Saleem Gilmore →

3 Comments

  1. Gil Sewell

    Well… this is what the NEW GENERATION” We speak of, feel and seemed to describe in their video’s, Lyrics! they project on our everyday lives. Someone needs to do a documentary on Leaders like Malcom X
    Stokey. Watt’s What was life CNN Doing the 80’s What about the 60’s in America. Vietnam, Riots. etc…

  2. After seeing this picture of Angela Davis, I now, for the very first time understand………. why ( high school years 1970’s) it was saud…….. “YOU LOOK LIKE ANGELA DAVIS!”

  3. Melba Tolliver

    Good reporting. Don’t hear enough about Angela Davis. Re: Beyonce: I don’t get why she needs to be half naked to get her message across.

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