Broadcast journalist Belva Davis on her family’s move from Louisiana to Oakland, California, her new memoir, and becoming the first female African American television reporter on the West Coast.

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Photograph by Greg Habiby

On this month’s edition of “On the Fly,” Guernica Editor-at-Large Mark Dowie interviews journalist Belva Davis. As the first black female television reporter on the West Coast, Belva Davis helped change the face and focus of broadcast news. In a career spanning five decades, Davis has interviewed some of the most explosive personalities of the past century, including members of the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X , Huey Newton, and Robert Kennedy. In her new memoir, Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism, Davis chronicles her journey from Louisiana during the Great Depression to the projects of Oakland, California, candidly documenting the racism and abuse she faced as a single mom, struggling to raise two children, while persevering to build a prodigious career. Davis never gave up, and we’re all the better because of it.

Part One: Sleeping on floors to affirmative action

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Part Two: On the most memorable interviews of her career

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Part Three: The future of public broadcasting

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dowiebio60.jpgMark Dowie is an editor-at-large at Guernica, an investigative historian, and the author of seven books, including Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century, American Foundations: An Investigative History, and, most recently, Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. During his thirty-five years in journalism, Dowie has won nineteen journalism awards and been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

To contact Guernica or Mark Dowie, please write here.

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