Arts in the Valle host Kim McMillon interviews Belva Davis, the first black female TV journalist in the West. Belva Davis shares the story of her extraordinary life in her memoir, Never in My Wildest Dreams.
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Never in My Wildest Dreams is a book about courage and achievement from pioneering journalist Belva Davis, who helped to change the face and focus of TV news. When Davis started her journalism career, the major media outlets were largely closed to African Americans and female reporters. In the earliest part of her career, she worked for black newspapers and black-programmed radio stations. In 1966, when, racial barriers began to fall, she became the first black woman hired as a television news reporter in the western United States.
Many of the explosive stories of the ‘60s ’70s and ’80s intersected with her private life. She spent months covering campus demonstrations, anti-Vietnam war protests and the rise of the Black Panthers. She married William Moore, who became the first black television news photographer at a commercial station in California – at one point each of them had a station-issued gas masks to protect them during the protests. As she covered the kidnapping ordeal of heiress Patty Hearst, police informed her that white supremacists were threatening to abduct her own daughter. When she reported a series about alleged police misconduct, her son was mysteriously arrested. The family housekeeper turned out to be a likely spy on behalf of the Rev. Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. And her daughter worked in San Francisco’s City Hall and was there the day Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated.
Never in My Wildest Dreams covers Davis’ years of reporting on the AIDS epidemic for which she won awards, but also the story of the tragic lost of her long time producer to the disease. There are stories of her travels to Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro twice, as well as to Kenya and Tanzania after the bombing of U.S. embassies in those countries. With honesty and openness, she talks about the difficulty of managing her family and professional career, while quietly fighting racism and sexism. Along the way she held fast to her dream–and changed the perception of who should and could be a good television news reporter.
Vicki Haddock , co-writer, worked closely with Belva Davis to organize nearly a half-century of a life filled with historic moments, a job she was well suited to handle. Haddock spent three decades in Bay Area journalism, working as a reporter, editor, and occasional columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner , and before that, as a political editor and writer at the Oakland Tribune.
Information from website, http://www.belvadavis.com