Alice Kaplan’s latest book, ”Dreaming in French,” illuminates a pivotal year in the lives of Jackie Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis, each of whom spent time in Paris between World War II and the start of the Vietnam War. In his review of the book, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Thomas Chatterton Williams contends that Angela Davis was the beneficiary of French intellectuals, whose works Davis had mastered, when they returned the favor by supporting her “against the racism of trumped-up charges she later would face.” Williams is referring to charges Davis faced in a 1972 murder case for which she was acquitted. Trumped up charges? Historical revisionism at best, outright lying at worst. Yet “racist-motivated” or “trumped-up charges” has been a recurring motif used to defend a coterie of radical black criminals who, despite mountains of evidence against them, have also benefitted from the support of leftists. It is those same leftists who are determined to turn the Trayvon Martin case into another racially-motivated circus–one where genuine justice takes a back seat to a leftist mob agenda.
Angela Davis is a former member of the Black Panther Party, who became a Communist in 1968 because she believed that “the only path of liberation for black people is that which leads toward complete and radical overthrow of the capitalist class.” In 1979, Davis was awarded the Intenational Lenin Peace Prize (formerly the International Stalin Peace Prize) by then-communist East Germany. In both 1980 and 1984, she ran for Vice President of the United States on the Communist Party ticket. She currently leads her own movement against what she refers to as the “Prison industrial complex,” contending that all incarcerated minorities are nothing more than political prisoners who should be freed.
On August 7, 1970, 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson pulled out a gun in the middle of trial and ordered everyone to freeze. He then passed out guns to the defendants and took five hostages as part of an escape plan. One of the hostages was presiding Judge Harold Haley, who had a sawed-off shotgun taped to his chin during the ordeal. During the subsequent gun battle attempting to prevent the escape, the judge’s head was blown off.
Davis was indicted as a result of two over-riding factors. First, more than 20 witnesses indicated that the hostage-taking was an effort to free fellow Black Panther George Jackson who was reportedly her lover, and that Davis had been in the area at the time of the crime. Second, Davis was the owner of the shotgun that killed Haley, and owned all of the other guns used in the attempted escape as well.
Trumped up charges? Davis seemingly didn’t think so. She fled California to avoid arrest, using aliases and changing her appearance until she was apprehended in New York City two months later. And even if one concedes the former charge might be untrue, the latter charge is indisputable. Davis owned the guns. Yet for people like Thomas Chatterton Williams and other see-no-radical-evil disciples, a prosecutor bringing charges against the owner of weapons used in a murder constitutes race-based railroading.
See-no-evil is a recurring theme for leftists when it comes to black radicals. Assata Shakur, aka JoAnne Chesimard, was part of a revolutionary activist organization known as the Black Liberation Army (BLA). On May 2, 1973, Chesimard and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two state troopers. Chesimard was already wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. The trio opened fire on the troopers, wounding one. The other trooper was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. In 1977, Chesimard was convicted of first-degree murder. Two years later, she escaped prison and is currently thought to be living in Cuba.
A societal pariah as a result? Hardly. In 2005, a grassroots movement, “Hands Off Assata” generated support for Chesimard in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities. Other supporters claim she was the victim of “racial profiling and political targeting.” In 2011, the controversy touched the president when rapper Common was invited to the White House, despite penning “A Song for Assata” and naming his child Omote Assata Lynn. “Assata had been convicted of a murder she couldna done,” Common rapped. New Jersey state troopers were understandably outraged by the invitation. How is the president associated with Common? “It is likely Obama met Common at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ were both men were members,” reported the NH Journal in 2011.
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