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April 1st, 2012
01:56 PM ET

Angela Davis: Trayvon's story not unique

Long before the world knew the name Trayvon Martin, 1960s America was deep in a debate over race. One of the people at the forefront of that conversation was Angela Davis. Her years as an activist and cultural leader speaks volumes. Don Lemon talked to Davis about how the Trayvon Martin case has turned into a global conversation.


Filed under: Anchors • Don Lemon
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Yolanda

    Don this is regarding the Travon case, I've read on the daily news today that the Screams on 911 tape aren’t George Zimmerman’s: according to the voice experts .
    My concerh is, If Travon attact Zimmermon like Zimmermom saids. Why would Travon attached Zimmermon and then holler for help. I believe that George lie regarding that iincedient.. When you are the aggreser you do everything possible to come out on top, even if you have to take it like a man and not holler out later for help Only the victum hollers..

    April 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. W B

    These two so-called experts are just looking for press. Look at their websites to see that one has only a history degree and the other list no degree. Anyone can make themselves look like a big deal on the web. The one guy claims to be certain it is not Zimmerman by using he "trained ear". LOL. Suckers in the press are falling all over this non sense.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  3. Mike Nelson

    Some of you are too young to know of Ms. Davis's checkered past.

    The judge, one of the jurors, the prosecutor, and the three black men were killed in the melee. Davis had purchased the firearms used in the attack, including the shotgun used to kill Haley, which had been purchased two days prior and sawed-off.

    It was the 1970's an astoundingly the jury said this was not enough to convict her of aiding the murders, she has been suck off the supposed racist whit establishment ever since with jobs working for the U C system in California

    April 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  4. 9th

    Louis,

    What's up?

    GOP candidates furthered the politicization of the tragedy when they attacked the President instead of either leaving it alone or expressing some thought about allowing the system to work its course.

    The perpetrators of the crime you speak of are going to be tried. After shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmeman was barely investigated and was let go. It Trayvon's parents had not taken their desire to see justice (which is afforded to all Americans) for their son to social media and the press, no one would be questioning how the case was handled. Trayvon Martin was not treated with equality. His perpetrator should have been investigated as thoroughly as the perps in the case you described.

    Why can't people who have issues with the Trayvon Martin case put their politics and biases aside and see that a human was murdered and his death quickly swept under the rug? Is there something you all don't want to face, so you quickly point to other cases involving black perps or the statistics of black on black murders? Those of you who are all of a sudden concerned about black on black crime and pointing your fingers at others, what have you done about it?

    I find the case you describe horrible. The couple's lives were as valuable as Trayvon Maritn's. Why do some people choose to avoid the value of Trayvon's life by bringing up other cases? Why can't we agree that what was done to him was wrong and ask that justice be served like it's being done in the case you describe? Does seeing black people march in the streets demanding due process on a perp with a violent history that was released back on to the streets of Sanford with the firearm he used to murder a teenager Would those who have a problem with this whole situation feel differently if the boy was white? You have to ask yourselves these questions. I feel bad when any child is hurt or killed. When was the last time your heard of a white child who was murdered by a black perp and the black perp was released the police department with his or her firearm?

    Peace. I've read some really hateful stuff since this case has been so public. It's disgusts me. My grandfather fought in WWII for the same people who have expressed hatred towards blacks in online forums. Kentucky wins a basketball game and groups of people, including white people, turn over cars. Hockey fans riot after winning the Stanley cup, but as soon as black people march peacefully (Its not right to hold Trayvon's parents responsible for any group that supports violence. They have come out against it.) in the streets, every incident or crime involving a black person is recounted in some online forum. PEOPLE do good things and they do bad things.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  5. 9th

    Correction:

    Does seeing black people march in the streets demanding due process on a perp with a violent history that was released back on to the streets of Sanford with the firearm he used to murder a teenager bother you?

    Love you, Don. I love the vibe you give out during your broadcasts - very laid back and peaceful.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  6. Tirmediagroup

    Don: Something Very Important! on the 911 Tape. when the dispatcher asked his name he says "George". The operator asks his last name. you hear a double Clicking sound ("click, click") then George says "Zimmerman".
    Just please listen to that tape again, George had his gun cocked. I'm 911% sure George never mention that he cocked his gun during the struggle this is because it was already ready to go.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  7. maggie

    I am so appalled regarding how the news is blowing what happened to Trayvon Martin out of proportion. First of all race has nothing to do with what occured. The prosecutor needs to be allowed to do their job. Unfortunately both individuals are to blame for what transpired: Zimmerman should have not followed Trayvon and waited for the police to handle the matter. Trayvon should not have instigated a physical confrontation with Zimmerman. The outcome would have been different. I don't see reporters discussing two hate crimes that occured in California recently. We have an Iraqi woman dead and five children without their mother. It is a possible hate crime. Yet I don't see reporters trying to help in this matter. We have a Hispanic teenager beaten by 7 African American males. However, these same reporters are not reporting on these stories. Is it because the victims are not Black? Are other races less important. Why are Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton not commenting on these two victims? After all Martin Luther King Jr. wanted equality and justice for people of all color.

    I know people will comment that the 7 African American males have been arrested. However when the victim is hispanic the defendants are aquitted or charged with a lesser crime. Don't they deserve justice as well? What about the Iraqi woman? This world is not just black and white. This world is full of many races and cultures. Don't we all have civil rights?

    April 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  8. SPLITdek

    ATTENTION…. ATTENTION…. ATTENTION!!! The Laws Apply To All! I have watched and listened to many radio and television show hosts and their guests discuss the Trayvon Martin killing, each having their own opinion and respectfully so. However, in my opinion it seems astonishing how no one is discussing Trayvon Martin’s right under the “Stand Your Ground Law” to stand his ground. Most people seem to discuss George Zimmerman’s right or wrong to defend himself under the “Stand Your Ground Law.” Didn’t that same law apply to Trayvon martin?
    Most people would agree that Trayvon Martin was being watched and followed by George Zimmerman based on the 911 recordings that have been aired. Something happened thereafter as a result of George Zimmerman casing/ watching/ stalking Trayvon Martin which ended with the person being followed dead and the pursier/ the person doing the casing/ the person doing the stalking now claiming self defense.
    The law says a person can legally stand his or her ground and defend his or her life with deadly force if necessary. Didn’t that same law apply to Trayvon Martin?
    Imaging this, you are being followed at night and you know that you are being followed. Eventually the stalker catches up to you…. Now one has to defend his or her life, who is standing their ground? For those who say the person doing the following, I beg to differ. “Stand your ground.” Apparently Trayvon Martin did and now he is dead.
    Why isn’t more of the conversation about how the dead man stood his ground?
    If the law makers are uncertain of what is meant by the laws they pass, how can the law defenders defend the law? How can the law enforcers enforce the law? And how can the people understand the law? THIS IS CRIMINAL!

    April 2, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  9. KAM

    It is incredibly insensitive some of the posters on here are. A family just lost a son. A son who was on a simple quick errand and possibly to chat with his girlfriend in private. This young man's life was taken because he was targeted by a deep and paranoid hate for people of certain color. Deciding that this person was on drugs and about to rob the neighborhood. Never once did this man think that this person could be visiting someone? That he was new to the neighborhood and may have been lost? No, he just went after this innocent minding his own business kid and created an altercation. If Trayvon did hit him it was most likely in self-defense and out of fear. We teach our children to wary of strangers. I can't imagine the fear this young man felt. Being followed and then approached by a stranger in the dark and in the rain. It can be heard on the 911 tape Trayvon asking this person why they are following him. Never once did Zimmerman identify himself or express concern about Trayvon's presence in the neighborhood. For all Trayvon knew he was a kidnapper, molester, or murderer. This is after the police told him to stop following this person. The stories from the Zimmerman side are so over the top anyone who looks at this rationally can see those supporters know Zimmerman and feel that have to try to get him out of this situation. He was wrong. But moving on from the actual crime. The police handled this poorly. My guess is that they new Zimmerman (certainly from his paranoid phone calls) and they knew his father(and his position/influence). I am sure they had an opinion about him. Its just that they didn't bank on him killing someone or maybe they did. But to have a person's phone number and never use it or call the last call on the cellphone. There is no excuse for that. To list him as a John Doe in the morgue for 3 days. His father called at 3 am looking for his son. My question is how many young 6'3" black males are laying in the morgue. Nope not buying it. It's appalling how this was handled. As far as race Zimmerman could have been green, purple or blue. He is the one who made it a biased situation. By targeting someone because they were black and didn't look like they belonged in the area. So to all the people who claim this is just a black conspiracy to holler for injustice. I say, let them shout loud and clear. Its time for this nation to stop hiding behind the " I can't believe it still exists" curtain. Racism is alive and well. Regardless if you are white, brown, yellow, red or black. It is clear by some of the comments that have been coming from the opposite side. There are no statistics necessary of how many people are killed by a certain race. It happens everyday. Sad and unfortunate but there is enough guilt to go around. The issue with this case is that it was very clear the bigotry and very clear there was some cover-up. No one is saying George Zimmermam should be tried in the media. We as a nation should all stand behind due process. He should be arrested and stand trial. Let the jury of his peers decide. A young man lost his life for no reason other than paranoia and the killer was set free. It is a statement that speaks volumes.

    April 2, 2012 at 5:21 am |
  10. Becky Covington

    My concern is that this is now in the proper hands, but a continued calling for arrest could lead to A rush to Zimmerman being arrested without the correct charges being filed, (1st degree, etc) which could possibly turn out like Casey Anthony.
    Why is there no commentary in the media discussing the process used to indict. Needful.
    Also, what convenience store did he go to? Where was it located. There are several located within a mile of apts.
    I know this sounds crass, but I have heard his parents didn't look for him for 3 days. Sounds impossible, but is it true?

    April 2, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  11. Becky Covington

    Just found the answer to the morgue question. False.

    April 2, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  12. Adventure49

    Lost in the racial overtones of this case are two other important issues. The first is the use of deadly force by citizens who believe they are protecting their neighborhood. The second is the police and prosecutors reaction when they confront a situation that has escalated to a shooting by a "good neighbor." In this case, race has become a domanat issue, but a few years ago in Greece, NY a simalar case reversed the races. The same two issues I just enumerated came up, and like this case the victim, who was white, was villified to support the "good neighbor."

    April 2, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  13. J.L. McKnight

    In chicago. in 2011 in Jan. – march several 600 plus black people, many of them young were hit by bullets. In Jan – March 2012 100's more blacks were shot. The number of deaths were101 deaths. That is 101 children mothers and fathers lost. Their pain is no greater or less than Trayvon parents. The chicago murders WERE NOT CARRIED OUT BY WHITES. sO i ASK THE BLACK COMMUNITY, SO EXPLAIN WHY ARE BLACKS NOT PROTESTING THESE CHCAGO MURDERS. A FEW DAYS AGO A 13 YEAR OLD BLACK YOUTH WALKED HOME FROM SCHOOL. HE .WAS FOLLOWED BY 2 16 year old blacks. The 16 year olds poured gasoline on the head and face of the 13 year old then set him on fire. Why have the black americans ignored all stories regarding on black black kllings? Majority of whites protested against Trayvon's death believing zmzn guilty. including me. I DO NOT WANT THIS TURNED INTO BLACKS HATING WHITE ALL OVER AGAIN. Why only choose Trayvons Murder to walk in protest, White kills a black man and all hell breaks out. When blacks kill blacks you do nothing. In chicago during one of the murdered victim there was another drive by during funeral. Bullets rang out. One of those killed was a 5 year old little girl. I want to hear from black americans as to why you hate white americans when one nut case kills Trayvon but blacks kill each other and you do nothing. Almost or little more 800 blacks shot by other blacks and u appear to ignore the facts. But don't waste anytime hating whites. Is this proof you all are more racist against us.

    April 2, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  14. Lisa

    I do not want to see anyone have their life taken. But we have been lied to by the media first and a lot of other people that would like to pit us all against each other. If you google this story Trayvon's father identified it was not his son's voice on the tape yelling for help. Justice should be served but the people trying to stir up things racially are wrong for doing so! GOD is watching folks you had better stop!!

    April 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  15. Pat

    I don't know who contacted whom, but I would think CNN could find other civil rights activists to consult besides Angela Davis.
    By the way, I think the Trayvon incident is tragic, but I think people should wait and let the special prosecutor do her job – I would think that forensics and analysis of the tapes, as well as the testimony of witnesses will do a great deal to shed light on exactly what happened.
    Too many people have a vested interest in stirring things up for their own purposes.

    April 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  16. 9th

    Face Down,

    I wondered if he was shot in the back too. I guess we'll see when ballistics and forensics are revealed, unless the coroner was at the alleged meeting as well. Someone had Trayvon's body for 3 days. What?

    April 3, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  17. 9th

    J.L. McKnight,

    I haven't heard Trayvon's parents on one black "leader" say that they hate white people. Where are you getting this from?

    I wonder how afraid Trayvon was that night. (This statement or any one of my statements to not mean that I hate white people.)

    Do you want to know what happened to Trayvon? Are you concerned that law enforcements and people we turn to for protection may have covered up for George Zimmerman? Does that scare you?

    April 3, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  18. 9th

    Lisa,

    I'm glad God is watching. He had His eye on George Zimmerman and the authorities involved in this case too.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  19. politicsnewsaja

    The wounds on Zimmerman are also consistent for Trayvon putting up a defense from Zimmerman's stalking and ambush. Zimmerman's friend @ 8:39AM this morning on Solidad's show (4/3/2012), shows he put his foot in his mouth of black profiling and very telling of the racism! JEESH! BTW... SC has a law that if anyone other than a police officer, parent or the like detains a minor and the minor does not feel free to get away, it is a kidnapping charge. Does Florida have a law similar that can hold Zimmerman charged with that too? Can you clarify if Zimmerman was self proclaimed neighborhood watch or was this particular neighborhood watch even registered as all others are?

    April 3, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  20. Karen

    Did you hear the former neighborhood watch captain today on Starting Point? This guy is a racsist from the word go. Says that the neighborhood had been robbed 8 times in the past 10 months, and they were all young black men. Even though only one of them was ever apprehended. How does he know that they were all young black men if they haven't been apprehended? And, didn't Trayvon have the right to defend himself against his aggressor? Of course he did? Its not Trayvon's actions that should be questioned but George Zimmermans. Why didn't he stand down like the police told him to? This is absolutely about racial profiling.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  21. Matt

    I agree with Karen, this is absolutely about racial profiling. And also why didn't Zimmerman listen to the police and stand down. Yet with all these arguments, what would happen if Martin's family did get a case against Zimmerman? How would you persuade the jury that Zimmerman is guilty no matter that Stand Your Ground Law?

    April 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  22. George M

    How come nobody said anything when Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian were killed in TN for being white??? Where is the press coverage over that horrible racially motivated double murder???

    April 5, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  23. ken, nj

    It is not paranoid to fear black people. Blacks make up 10% of the general population but 35%of the prision population is black. Obama had it right when he said his own white mother would be afraid if she saw a black man walking down the street at night. Holder the attorney general said it is ok for obama to order the assassination of amerians if obama thinks they are a threat.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  24. leonardave

    All this talk on black on black, white on white murder. You are missing the big picture. What about all crime in general? What race commits the most crime? What race fills our prisons to capacity? Be honest and don't point the racism finger at me. The facts mame, just the FACTS.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  25. ronvan

    OPINIONS, OPINIONS! We all have them and they tell us alot about the people making them. Black, White, Racist,
    Uneducated, Cannot spell, Cannot explain what they are saying, and on & on. So here is my opinion and you can judge it for what it is worth. First: This would never have happened if Zimmerman followed the "lawful order" given him by 911. Second: Zimmerman has to take responsiblity for his actions in that HE followed Martin, with a loaded weapon, and FORCED a confrontation. Third: Racial Profiling? Personally I think so! Fourth: Did Zimmerman's father, a retired judge, influence the police? I think so! Fourth: Zimmerman's father and brother's statements are totally irrevelant, in that they were not there, just repeating what Zimmerman told them, and even embellishing the story. Fifth: Zimmerman's attorney talking to one of the witnesses and trying to affect/change their memory of what they saw!? Sounds illegal to me. SO lets all take a deep breath and see what the investigation shows. Personally, my opinion, is that in the totality of the situation Zimmerman should be charged with premeditated murder!

    April 9, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  26. NikKi

    amen ronvan! Amen!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  27. NikKi

    ken,Nj r u serious? as an educated black women (with surely more education than u)... do u really think that President Obama (based on the authority of the White atty general).. would order the automatic assassination of an 'assailant' without PROBABLE cause??? C'mon! Really?? It's Zimmerman (and the evidence against him VIA audio and eye-witness accounts) that matter! Reality Check foolish-one!!!!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  28. MSUEH

    @NikKi: "(based on the authority of the White atty general)"

    Don't know much about current public officials, do you? Attorney General Eric Holder is anything BUT "White"...

    Are you really claiming to be "an educated black women (with surely more education than u)" – expecting us to believe you?? Are YOU serious?? If you want to be seen as a credible opinion-giver, please write intelligently.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  29. 9th

    I think Buck Davis hit the nail on the head, on April 7, 2012, when he gave his thoughts on why some white people have avoided addressing the possible racial implications of the Trayvon Martin case by pointing out issues that plague (perceived or real) the Black community instead.

    Officer Morgan (Chicago): Has anyone thought that maybe he saw, heard, or knows something (maybe he's not even aware of it) that put him in jeopardy? Shady behavior by fellow officers? Was he set up?

    April 11, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  30. 9th

    @ken nj & leonardave,

    How many of the blacks in prison were falsely imprisoned and falsely accused.? And how many whites have committed crimes but haven't been incarcerated? A big deal was made out of Trayvon having marijuana RESIDUE in his back pack. How many non-black youths smoke marijuana every day and get a way with it? Gold teeth make Trayvon a thug? I guess a lot of people wouldn't know what a thug looked like if they saw one. Some of those young white males wearing hoodies with the hardware in their faces might make Obama's momma nervous too. It's strange that she'd be nervous about passing a black man on the street and she married a black man. Strange...

    April 11, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  31. Paul Hardy

    You are asking the opinion of Angela Davis?! Are you kidding?! Just because she was accessory to a murder before, that doesn't make her an authority on a case like this! – Jesse Jackson, a well known leader in the African-American community stated in his book that he feels relieved when at night, in a strange city, he learns the people behind him are white.... There is a reason why even someone like him is afraid of African Americans on the street...

    December 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm |

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