Black Journalism Pioneer Tells All

In Belva Davis' 40-year career as the first black female television reporter on the West Coast, she covered issues ranging from Vietnam War protests to the start of the AIDS epidemic to the Black Panthers. She has chronicled her experience and the lessons they taught her in a new memoir, Never In My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism.

In an interview this week with NPR's Michel Martin, the groundbreaking journalist discusses overcoming (and writing about) her childhood abuse, her advice to young women and why gender discrimination has been more difficult to overcome in her career than racism.


Read some excerpts here:

The real reason I wrote this book is for young girls like myself, young women like I was back then struggling, a child who was trying to find her place in that sort of hand-me-down society where I lived, a young single mother trying to make it with children, a teen living in the housing projects and trying to live there with dignity and to get out whole. So there were a number of these reasons why I thought I was limited. And now I want to say to young women: forget that, you know, believe in yourself. 

Meeting Malcolm X was memorable. Having exposure to Dr. King was memorable. To be there for the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and to make a difference in a way that I think helped to save lives will stay with me forever. Having the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Tanzania and to offer and help to facilitate medical supplies for citizens of these two African nations who were injured after our embassies were bombed in their country; that was a singular thing we know we bought relief. These are singular things that you can never forget and it's hard to choose a favorite because you know that each of them have meant something in a number of people's lives.

You know, I wrote something that kept me going for years and it was: don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. That is my message to every young woman; every girl who has a dream who wants to be something more than what people expect of her. If they could just hang on to just that phrase and continue to move forward and leave the baggage behind, if I can leave that kind of message behind for young women then this I would consider a life well lived.

Read more and listen to the full interview at NPR.

In other news: Duke Lacrosse Accuser's Boyfriend Dies From Stabbing.