Interview with Angela Davis
QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

What was the lesson of that coalition for this period in the history, in your thinking? What, where, what, what did that signify in terms of what was possible in this very dark period?

ANGELA DAVIS:

At a, at a time, at a time when there was not a great deal of unity embracing, ah, people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, embracing, you know, workers and students. There tended to be, ah, unfortunately a kind of competition, ah, among those of us who considered ourselves as the oppressed. One group would argue that they were more oppressed. The other group would say, "No, you know, women are oppressed than Black people." And, and, ah, unfortunately that's the kind of, ah, climate that prevailed, ah, ah, during that era, to a certain extent. In any event, there was not a great deal of multi-racial organizing going on. There was not a great deal of efforts designed to allow people to, ah, cross, ah, ah, bridges from various, ah, political points, ah, and various personal experiences. And, those who organized the campaign for my freedom, reached out to everyone and were able to figure out a strategy which allowed everyone to feel connected with my case. The women's movement and of course the Black movement, the working class movement, I was a union member as a, a faculty member at UCLA. I, I belonged to, ah, the union, ah, the church movement. And I think it was a real lesson on how to achieve the maximum possible political force. And, and a lesson in pointing out that even though there may be differences separating various groups of people in our society, ah, there are also things that we have in common. And if we are in some way the target of, ah, an oppressive socioeconomic system, we should be able to figure out how to stand together. And by bringing literally tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people together, ah, it was possible to build a movement which did seep into the courtroom and did influence people, not in terms of, ah, of the jury deciding well, ah, there is this movement that is going to get me if I do not vote for the acquittal of Angela Davis but rather because the jurors themselves recognized that it was not a question of simply being accountable to me as one individual, that they would have to be accountable to, ah, enormous numbers of people. They would have to be accountable to their own church members. They would have to be accountable to their own union members. They would have to be accountable to their, to the students who attended, ah, college with their sons and daughters. It was by building that kind of movement that it was possible to achieve victory.