San Jose police demolish piece of history linked to Black Panthers
By Lisa Fernandez
Article Launched: 10/17/2008
Nobody who swung a sledgehammer Friday at a slice of San Jose history
shed any tears.
And with the help of a powerful backhoe, the crowd standing around a
drab concrete guard shack on Hedding Street cheered and whooped as
slabs of the small, boxy structure crashed to the ground and dust
choked the air.
By midday, the guard shack built in 1972 for the trial of Black
Panther activist Angela Davis was reduced to a mere memory.
Police Chief Rob Davis was glad.
"It's an eyesore and a traffic hazard," said Davis, who is not
related to Angela Davis. "And I think we used to store junk in it
during the '80s. It's one of those icons that we kept asking, 'Why
isn't that gone already?' "
Chief Davis' children Mackenzie, 9, and Zachary, 3, who were off
from school were thrilled to take a swing at the building, even if
they had no idea of its history. Angela Davis was accused in 1970 of
conspiring to murder a judge in Marin County because the gun linked
to his death was registered in her name. The high-profile trial was
moved to San Jose, where the guard shack was built to screen court
visitors. Angela Davis was acquitted of all charges.
Since then, police have considered the shack annoying and ugly. It
blocked the view of officers and visitors exiting the police
department headquarters on Hedding Street.
Chief Davis, who was a freshman at Branham High School during Angela
Davis' trial, said the shack was demolished for safety and aesthetic
reasons. The building made it difficult to secure the parking lot,
where a police car was once stolen. In a few months, a new wrought
iron fence will surround the department.
Angela Davis who recently retired from the University of
California-Santa Cruz, where she taught the history of consciousness
and feminist studies couldn't be reached for comment on the
Who knows if she was even aware that the guard shack existed?
But one might suppose that she may have also enjoyed picking up a
sledgehammer and taking a whack.
Contact Lisa Fernandez at email@example.com or (408) 920-5002.
San Jose police demolish link to Black Panthers
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 10/18/2008
SAN JOSE, Calif.A small crowd cheered and whooped as San Jose police
destroyed a piece of history tied to the Black Panthers.
Chief Rob Davis was among those who took turns swinging sledgehammers
Friday at a small concrete guard shack built for the trial of
activist Angela Davis in 1972.
She was accused of conspiring to murder a judge in Marin County. The
high-profile trial was moved to San Jose, where the guard shack was
built to screen court visitors. Police have considered the shack
outside police headquarters an eyesore and a safety hazard, because
it blocked their view of the parking lot.
Angela Davis was acquitted of all charges in the case. She recently
retired from the University of California, Santa Cruz.