Saturday, January 05, 2013

Dreaming in French, Part IV: Angela Davis

The third main section of Alice Kaplan's Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis delves into Davis' initial exploration of Europe, particularly France. But it does more. It provides an overview of her Alabama childhood, early experiences with segregation, then jump off to New York City for summer school, then back to Birmingham ("a terrible awakening" -- page 147), studying French, studying at Brandeis University, learning, absorbing, making new friends. And then off to France.

In the wake of the Algerian Revolution / Guerre d'Algérie (1954-1962), Davis spent a year as a college student living in France, responding to chaotic events in the USA, as well. "For France . . . the end of the Algerian war was only the begining of a fomentation, a questioning of national values that would last beyond the revolutionary days of May '68" (page 143).  Davis took it all in, acquired a German boyfriend and studied German philosophy, as well.



Kaplan takes us through the unfolding of Angela Davis' ideas, her response to the ever-changing 1960s, involvement with the Black Panthers and Soledad Prison, imprisonment, trial, and dramatic support rendered in France and by French artists. More on some of this at some point, no doubt.

Today's Rune:  Signals.

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