Hey Y’all! Welcome to my very first “Adventures of Atlanta” post where I’m super excited to break the ice with my visit to Sisters Chapel on the campus of Spelman College right here in Atlanta, Georgia. I thought it’d be pretty cool to share on the birth date of myself and Ms. Davis. So, Happy Birthday to us!
As promised, I came up with a blog post about my visit to hear Ms. Davis at Spelman College last week. First let me start off by saying, being on Spelman’s campus and seeing all the beautiful black women come out to hear the amazing Angela Davis’ lecture, about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King was soooo empowering. It was a feeling all by itself, separate from the reason I was on the campus. I loved every bit of it. It was super nostalgic and made me miss and wanna do college all over again. While I’m at it, shout out to everybody who’s a proud product of an HBCU.✊🏾 Now let me say this, in no way would I consider myself politically savvy, but when I found out Ms. Davis was going to be speaking at Spelman, I immediately reserved my ticket. Like I had to be there. There was no way I was missing this moment. Well actually I almost did until I checked my email. Y’all know I hate checking emails but that’s besides the point lol. Oh one last shout out to my girl Tiana for the plug on the event and blindly aiding in the positive shift of my slow starting 2017.
So here’s my account of the experience, the day after…
As I’m writing this blog post, I am still on a high from last nights lecture by Angela Davis, THE Angela Y. Davis. Like I’m literally getting excited allllll over again. Like YO, I really saw THE Angela Y. Davis speak last night! Yeah, I think that’s how I’ll be referencing her from now on…. the revolutionary, civil rights activist, women’s rights activist, fellow Aquarian (sharing the same birth date as mine 1/26, screams!), scholar, academic. I swear I tried not to go into a daze, gazing at her as she began to speak. I seriously was trying to get my brain to transform into some super recording power since she requested that no one take pictures or that there be no recording of any kind during the lecture. Me: “Brain please be a sponge, brain please be a sponge, brain pleeeaaase be a spooooooooonnnge” 😩🙏🏾 lol. Now I don’t normally fan out over people but I felt myself fanning at this point because, this woman is SO wise. One part of me was like, shiiiit! I gotta document this! No way I can remember everything she’s saying 😩😩 but another piece of me was like noooo, take it in. Live in the moment. Enjoy the experience. It was definitely like one of those “if your weren’t there, you missed it” kinda moments because I seriously can’t relive it on the level it was initially received.
But just for y’all, I chose to kinda just highlight and quote some of the topics she touched on, and some of her responses during the Q&A session, in which I believe she didn’t respond to the questions how people intended. Again I say, this woman, is wise y’all. I feel like people expected a mighty revolutionary response. Like a hella black response with her fist in the air, waving it all around like she just don’t care, ooowwww lol… but her magic, the magic was in her responses. To be quite frank, people posed some really, really great questions. And she, THE Angela Y. Davis, responded with wisdom, much wisdom. I remember her saying something like not forcing ones opinion on one another but allowing people to sort of come to their own self discovery. I think that came across in all of her responses.
So, I’m just gonna share with you guys a list of topics she touched on from the notes I took. I won’t elaborate. I’m just gonna give you her words, as she spoke them to us. Enjoy!
On the type of work she does:
I do a lot of prison work.
Prisons need to be abolished because they prevent us from thinking about the complexities. Prisons are default solutions to the issues we deal with today.
On the state we need to be in today:
Over the next period, we have a lot of work to do.
I think we need to create a new party. We need to have a conversation about evolution. Let us celebrate resistance and radical transformation. Become more militant, persistent, and a collective. It is possible to be militantly non-violent.
We need the Fight for $15, minimum wage, to be on the agenda for the next 4 years through this presidential term. And why can’t we have 4 hour work days, using the rest of the day to develop yourself. Why do we have to work for 8 hours? But, “After all freedom is a constant struggle.” (Quoting the title of one of her latest books.)
When asked what advice do you give those of us who are putting in the work but realizing that we may never see what it is that we’re working for:
Doing this work is really about the imagination, because we don’t know what the consequences of our work will be. Expand your thinking of consciousness of self. Movements need a spiritual dimension. Think past the physical self and think of the spiritual collectivism, the connection with the future. I know we feel the spirit of people like, Harriet Tubman and all those that have gone on before us, all around us. The spirit is much more important and powerful than the physical being.
On how to deal with people that say they are for the movement or cause but really aren’t:
We have come to a place where we have become such individualist. It’s not about inflicting your ideas on someone else. It’s just about having conversations. Women led movements. Women were the foundation of movements and groups. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, women were the foundation of and led that movement. Who were the majority of people taking public transportation? Poor black women who had to take public transportation! Without them boycotting, the movement would not have been successful. Women were the foundation of the Black Panther Party. Women do the work and get little or no credit. We’re not trying to take over the male position but just get credit and recognized for the work put in. This is a really good time to be a young black woman because black women have more access than we did back then. Also, men have to understand that to get to the root of racism and issues like police brutality, we have to discuss misogyny.
When asked her opinion of Black Panther Party in relation to Black Lives Matter:
I loved the Black Panther Party movement. It was a great organization that did a lot of great things, however they had some problems. Back then for us it was simple, and we didn’t have to think much. Back then there were also more people than guns. I respect the Black Lives Matter movement because they include more complex thinking. We know they can’t do what the Black Panther Party did and police the police. Not today! There’s an advantage for the generation today. The more generations of shoulders you stand on, the more you should know.
When asked what kept her going so long and how did she did not give up.
My connection with people and the community kept me going. I realized that I was not by myself. Even when I was on trial, facing the gas chamber, I did not feel alone. I knew I did not stand there alone. When you don’t have to bare the entire burden yourself, it feels a lot lighter and easier to carry.
On her favorite quote by Dr. Martin Luther King:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
-Dr. Martin Luther King
I really hope y’all enjoyed this blog post as much as I did. Seriously, like every time I read over those notes, every time I read this blog post before posting it, it stirred something up in me. I definitely plan to look into some of her books, one in particular, Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. You can find that book here. For a list of other books Ms. Davis has written, click here.
As always, if you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful, please like it, love it, share your thoughts in the comments section and share the post with someone.
Until next time…
Side note: I had a couple of snap chat videos of her but I couldn’t figure out how to upload them into the blog post. Bummer. If anyone has any tips on that please let me know in the comments section below.