Angela Davis is a political activist, academic and author. She emerged as an activist in the 1960’s in northern California with the Black Panther Party. The thing that I personally admire about Angela Davis is her willingness to grow and learn. Many of her contradictions have come from her speaking on new learnings where there hasn’t been a language for Black women. Therefore I don’t view these as contradictions, she was creating a language along the way. She was shifting point of views and stand points. And she continues to do so.
I have heard her speak several times. Once she mentioned that growing up in Birgmingham, Alabama she was friends with two of the girls now infamously known as “The 4 Little Girls”. I can only imagine that her critically thinking mind began back then.
Happy Birthday Angela Davis! Thank you!
She’s heard more eulogies than poetry so I wrote this for her.
Amidst the sips of licorice tea, I asked her
“what would she do differently.”
She replied she’d “love as fearlessly as she fought
take more time,
soak the greens instead of rinse ’em”
research his heart as she did antiquity.
She truly believed that for years she had a melody
but never a song
“conquer your souls duality” she told me
the world is depending on you to love
Nikki Skies, ©2007 Published in anthology of “His Rib: Stories Poems & Essays by HER” by Penmanship Publishing Group
“The Black Panther Party is the greatest threat to the internal security of the country. Schooled in the Marxist-Leninist ideology, leaders travel extensively all over the United States preaching not only to ghetto residents, but to students in colleges, universities and high schools as well.” – September 8, 1968, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover
This was stated during the murder trial of Black Panther cofounder Huey Newton. The communities were at a battle for public consciousness and the saying, “Free Huey!” were on t-shirts, pens, posters and cars. To protect and defend and demanding we feel human was a threat?… mind blowing to me.
Now the plan to disguise our struggles as gain is polluted everywhere. What a clever plan of attack to make the most popular songs about, “I got mine, get yours”, “I’m free”, “Do you and I do me”. Clever plans of attack huh? The old divide and conquer tactic! To think just 46 years ago, our unity was ‘the greatest threat’ to the United States. Now, we are each other’s greatest threat?…
(takes a seat, sighs and picks up her pen and pad. it’s not over…)
some days I feel like elaine brown. I feel like I have the courage to love what feels right. I feel like I can stand in front of whomever/whatever and move past the criticism of my past with a smile. like elaine brown, some days I feel like I can change the world and by doing that sometimes you have to start over.
elaine brown is particularly known for her involvement in the black panther party in Oakland, Ca. while many haven’t had interest enough to read what her contributions and positions were in the party, they seem satisfied with knowing and saying, “she’s an ex-panther.” I had the privilege of meeting her twice and opening for her during a lecture in los angeles a few years ago. she was very emphatic with her intent to tell her side of the story. to make sure we left her with more to say.
she wanted us to know she believed in the black panther party with her entire being. she helped the panthers set up its first Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles in addition to the panthers Free Busing to Prisons Program and the Free Legal Aid Program. she had a progressive intent for her people and herself as a woman/spiritual being. in her book, A Taste of Power, she made mention that she eventually left the panther party because she could no longer tolerate the patriarchy and sexism.
and I remember her speaking of love. I remember her sharing personal photos of her and Huey P. Newton and talking about how much she was in love with him. as I was holding one of the photos, she pointed to him and said, “he was fine wasn’t he?” her entire face smiled.
some days I feel like elaine brown in wanting to be whole. wanting to be accepted as an intelligent and critical thinker as well as a lover. and for all of who I am to be safe enough to share as part of the human experience.