Angela Davis

Activist / Writer
Date Of Birth:
26 January 1944
Place Of Birth:
Birmingham, Alabama
Best Known As:
The black feminist/communist on the Most Wanted list in 1970
Writer and activist Angela Davis first came to national prominence in the late 1960s, and for two months in 1970 she was on the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. She has since earned her place as a scholar, activist and one of the most influential voices in anti-racist and anti-capitalist feminism. Davis grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and was friends with four young girls who were killed in a church bombing by the Ku Klux Klan in 1963. Her parents were teachers, and she was exposed to political discussions at an early age. She graduated with honors from Brandeis University, where she studied philosophy and became a Marxist. Davis went into academia and was a teacher at the University of California in Los Angeles in 1969 when she was fired for her membership in the Communist Party. (Davis sued and was reinstated, but was fired again in 1970 for bad words she had said against policemen.) In 1970 a teenager forced his way into a California courtroom in an effort to get his brother, George Jackson, released from prison. Jackson claimed to be a political prisoner and Angela Davis was In the ensuing chaos, he was killed, along with a judge and three other prisoners. Some of the weapons used were registered to Angela Davis and she was placed on the Most Wanted Fugitives list on August 18, 1970. She became a household name, and her steely glare and outsized afro was a potent symbol for Black Power. Davis was captured October 13th in New York and sent to California, then tried on kidnapping and murder charges. She was acquitted in 1972. By that time Davis was a hero to revolutionaries and protesters, and she toured the world, including Cuba and the Soviet Union. She has since had an academic career at San Francisco State University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Rutgers University, Syracuse University and UCLA. Davis has also maintained her political activism, especially in the realm of prison reform.
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