Interview with Angela Davis

In 1967 what made you make the decision to come back home and how would you characterize the mood of the Black Liberation Movement and how you began to get involved with it in those years?


I decided to study in Europe in 1965 which was the year of the Watts uprisings, and the following year the Black Panther Party was founded. So, I found myself in Europe at a time when the Black Liberation Movement was undergoing a very important transformation. I felt very drawn to that movement and felt very frustrated during the entire period I spent in Europe because I was forced to watch things from afar. In 1967 I decided to discontinue my academic work in Europe and return to this country specifically in order to become involved in the Black movement. I chose to go to San Diego because Herbert Marcus with whom I had studied at Brandeis was teaching there. But I also knew that in California there was a great deal of, ah, organizing occurring in the community as a result of the, ah, emergence of the Black Panther Party and other organizations. So, as soon as I arrived in San Diego, I began to investigate what was happening in the community, what organizations existed. A number of organizations were active. The Black Congress, ah, and there was a, an organization headed by Ron Karenga called "Us Organization." Finally however, I decided that, ah, the organization I wanted to join did not really exist. So I became active on the campus in founding the first Black Student Union there, which eventually developed into a movement demanding, ah, Black studies on the campus and an entire college devoted to the needs of Black students, as well as, ah, Latino students and White working class students.