My Women’s History Month Salute: Belva Davis, the first African-American woman television journalist in the western US
During my Feb. 19, 2011 visit to the Newseum in Washington, DC, I met Belva Davis, the first black female TV journalist in the western United States. Ms. Davis was promoting her memoir “Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism,” which was written with veteran journalist and editor Vicki Haddock. The Newseum is a breath-taking interactive museum of news. I happened to fortuitously hear the announcement that Ms. Davis would be taping a television interview in the Knight Studios at the Newseum that afternoon.
“Never in My wildest Dreams” chronicles the rugged path she endured en route to achieving her journalistic milestone. The book describes some of the hardships and indignities she endured, such as when she and then-KDIA news director Louis Freeman, also an African-American, were driven from the 1964 Republican national convention by a group of attendees hurling racial epithets.
Ms. Davis is married to veteran photojournalist, William Moore, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting during the book signing at the Newseum, a double treat.
While reading her book, I was struck by the fact that I never heard of her in any of my collegiate journalism studies. If I hadn’t been in Washington, DC that February day, I would have missed meeting two American journalism pioneers. I just hope our textbooks are being updated to acknowledge their contributions to journalism and American history.
Thanks for all your hard work and fortitude!
Check out these links:
Belva Davis's website: http://www.belvadavis.com/
The Newseum, Washington, DC: http://www.newseum.org/index.html
National Association of Black Journalists's Hall of Fame (2008), http://www.nabj.org/?page=HallOfFame
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.