Excerpt from an interview with Michael Tigar in Austin, Texas on August 1-2, 2016.
In this clip, Tigar discusses the 1970 criminal case involving long-time activist and former UCLA faculty member, Angela Davis. Davis was charged with murder and kidnapping in connection with the Marin County courthouse incident, during which 17-year-old African American high school student Jonathan Jackson overtook the courthouse, kidnapping the judge, the district attorney, and three members of the jury. Davis had purchased the weapons used by Jackson to perform the kidnapping two days prior to the event. Jackson’s brother, George, had previously been charged with the murder of a guard at Soledad Prison after another guard shot and killed three African American prisoners without warning. Davis was one of several activists and prominent celebrities who supported the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee, created to help cover the defense case for George and the two other prisoners involved in the guard’s death.
At the beginning of the clip, Tigar discusses the Loyalty Oath that Davis was forced to sign. Also called the Levering Act, the law was enacted by California in 1950 and required state employees to subscribe to a loyalty oath that specifically disavowed radical beliefs, specifically aimed at employees of the University of California. Tigar also makes reference to the 2012 documentary, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch.