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My Generation

Pioneering Black Female News Reporter Still Makes Headlines

Belva Davis changed the face and focus of TV news

Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings. These are just a few of the premiere newsmen whose names are known in living rooms across the country. They’ve worked on the front lines of our nation’s past, but if you take a journey along the News History Gallery at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., you’ll meet a lesser-known, but equally groundbreaking, journalist who has been changing the face and focus of TV news for nearly four decades.

 

See also: Discover your African American roots.

Her name is Belva Davis and she was the first black female television news reporter on the West Coast. Davis reported on some of the most explosive and heart wrenching stories of the last half-century, from the birth and rise of the Black Panthers to the Vietnam War. She chronicled the lives of both the famous and infamous, and interviewed pivotal leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Jimmy Carter.

But while it was a wonderful and exciting career, she faced great opposition because of her race and gender. She recalls a time when she was asked to leave a news conference because nobody thought she was really a reporter, or when she was denied an interview because she was perceived as unqualified.

Over the years, Davis has received countless awards for her contributions to the field of journalism, including eight Emmy Awards and a number of lifetime achievement awards. My Generation’s Traci Mitchell met with the revolutionary reporter to discover how she broke down barriers for women and minorities in the news and around the world.

 

Also of interest: Take the African American history quiz.

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