Interview with Angela Davis
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

Can you start by defining that period, I mean saying the period when I was in prison or the period of the late '60s, early '70s

ANGELA DAVIS:

OK, the period, the period of the late '60s and the early '70s was a very painful period. The repression was so total that no one could escape being hurt in some way or another by the death of someone, an activist who was killed in the communities. I, when I look back on that period, I see myself attending funerals and, and, ah, ah, it was important at that time that we recognized that we could be victorious, that we were not simply the targets of repression but that we were active, historical agents who could set an agenda, fight for that agenda and win. And that is why I think my particular case, my, ah, legal case and the organizing that went on around it was so important because it did demonstrate that with organizing, with coalition organizing, it was possible to defeat the agenda of the President of the United States, ah, because Richard Nixon was very much involved in creating the impression that I was a terrorist. It was possible to defeat the agenda of Ronald Reagan who was the Governor of the State of California at that time. People responded at first spontaneously to my case. And I think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was out there as an activist, that I was attempting to organize people to defend, ah, the rights of political prisoners, to free, ah, Huey Newton, Erica Huggins, Bobby Seale, George Jackson, John Clutchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and that, as a matter of fact, I had often said that we all need to be involved in this movement because we don't know who will be the next to go. And if we don't build the basis for a strong movement, ah, and if one of us happens to be, ah, hit by the repression, we won't be able to count on the support that we will personally need. And of course at that time I had no idea that I would be one of the next, ah, who would be, ah, imprisoned in, in that way. ah, I think that the spontaneous response was important. But alone it would not have guaranteed, ah, the victory. Because the, the response initially would have petered out. It would have withered away. My case spanned a period of almost two years. And certainly organization was needed in order to build the kind of movement that would, ah, ah, endure throughout that period from the fight for bail, for example, to the actual legal acquittal. I think that, ah, we were successful because those who were organizing around my case.

INTERVIEWER:

We're at the very end of the roll.