Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Friends: Bettina Aptheker

BOND: What about Bettina Aptheker?

DAVIS: Well, Bettina — I think I met Bettina when I was quite young, probably about six or so. But I remember Bettina most from my high school years when I joined Advance which was the Communist Party’s Youth Organization and Bettina was the head of this youth organization. So my relationship with Bettina has been more of a political relationship. We marched together.

BOND: How did you meet her when you were six?

DAVIS: Oh, because of the Burnhams, because I went to New York.

BOND: I see. And the Burnhams and the Aptheker family—

DAVIS: The Burnhams and the Apthekers and the Du Boises and there was a circle there, although I don’t remember very much of that. I remember her most from a later era when I was in high school and — so, yes, with Bettina and Margaret and others, we picketed Woolworth’s every Saturday because of the policies of segregation in the South — Woolworth’s on 42nd Street in New York. And we marched across the George Washington Bridge. It was all quite fun, too.

BOND: I bet, I bet.

DAVIS: Well, I should perhaps say now that strangely enough Bettina and I teach on the same campus of the University of California and as a matter of fact, are affiliated with the same department, the Feminist Studies Department, so it’s very interesting how people’s lives intersect.

BOND: Indeed so.