As the first black female television journalist in the western United States, Belva Davis overcame the obstacles of racism and sexism, and helped change the face and focus of television news. Now she is sharing the story of her extraordinary life in her poignantly honest memoir, Never in My Wildest Dreams. A reporter for almost five decades, Davis is no stranger to adversity. Born to a fifteen-year-old Louisiana laundress during the Great Depression, and raised in the overcrowded projects of Oakland, California, Davis suffered abuse, battled rejection, and persevered to achieve a career beyond her imagination. Davis has seen the world change in ways she never could have envisioned, from being verbally and physically attacked while reporting on the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco to witnessing the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008.
Davis worked her way up to reporting on many of the most explosive stories of recent times, including the Vietnam War protests, the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, the Peoples Temple cult mass suicides at Jonestown, the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that first put Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. She encountered a cavalcade of cultural icons: Malcolm X, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Ronald Reagan, Huey Newton, Muhammad Ali, Alex Haley, Fidel Castro, Dianne Feinstein, Condoleezza Rice, and others.
Throughout her career Davis soldiered in the trenches in the battle for racial equality and brought stories of black Americans out of the shadows and into the light of day. Still active in her seventies, Davis, the “Walter Cronkite of the Bay Area,” now hosts a weekly news roundtable and special reports at KQED, one of the nation’s leading PBS stations,. In this way she has remained relevant and engaged in the stories of today, while offering her anecdote-rich perspective on the decades that have shaped us.
“No people can say they understand the times in which they have lived unless they have read this book.” — Dr. Maya Angelou