Angela Davis, Violence, and the Black Panther Party


“First of all, if you’re gonna talk about a revolutionary situation, you have to have people who are physically able to wage revolution”

-Angela Davis

This assertion made by Angela Davis in her 1972 interview is one of great importance. When people criticize the Black Panther Party (BPP) for its means of progress/protest–violence– these people fail to see the other side of the fight– white police officers using brute police force. Some people say that “you can’t fight fire with fire,” yet this should not equate to the issues that were taking place during the rise of the BPP. As Karl Marix once said: “The ends justify the means.” People tend to use pathos to discuss the BPP, often claiming that their use of violence was a national threat. However, it might behoove those same people to look at it from a logos perspective where they can see that the BPP was faced with violence as well.

Though I do not hear Angela Davis explicitly mention violence as literacy, there is a sense that violence does in fact relate to language. Language comes in all shapes and sizes, and isn’t always spoken. Perhaps one can claim that violence is a form of language; it is a way of communicating what needs to be heard in times where words aren’t strong enough.

-Corey P.


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