Freedom is Inspiring

Freedom is Inspiring

One of the most popular names in the early days of the civil rights movement, Angela Davis was born on January 26, 1944. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama to her African-American parents.

Davis studied French at Brandeis University and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. She became engaged in politics in the European nation. When she returned to America, Ms. Davis studied at the University of California.

After graduation, she became a member of the Communist Party. Consequently, she became involved in many causes including the second-wave feminist movement and campaign against the Vietnam War.

Angela Davis as a toddler with her mother, 1946

Early Life

As a child, she lived with her family in the " Dynamite Hill" neighborhood, which was marked for bombings of houses in a plan to drive middle-class people of color who moved there. Her siblings include two brothers, Been and Reginald, and a sister, Fania.

Davis attended Carrie A. Toggle School. It was a segregated black elementary school. She grew up with communist organizers and thinkers, who influenced her intellectual development. She was involved in her church youth group as a young adult and attended Sunday school often.

In 1959, she participated in the Girl Scouts. At the end of junior high school, Davis got accepted by an American Friends Service Committee. The committee ran a program that placed black students in integrated schools in the North.

Political activism

Angela Davis was accepted in the Communist Party USA's nomination for Vice President to Gus Hall. The party received less than 0.2% of the total vote in 1980. She left the party a year later. Davis founded the Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Davis group left the Communist Party USA due to the party's support for the 1991 Soviet Coup attempt. In the modern era, Davis has given her support for the Democratic Party. In the presidential bids of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden.

Davis was a popular name during the prison abolition movement. Angela Davis at one time called the United States prison system the "prison–industrial complex. Also, she was one of the Critical Resistance.

Davis was a supporter of the Soledad Brothers, three prison inmates that were convicted of killing a prison guard. On August 7, 1970, armed African-American student Jonathan Jackson gained control of a courthouse in Marin County, California. The judge was killed in fracas alongside three men.

Evidence during the trial showed Davis bought many firearms Jackson used in the attack. Davis was declared guilty of corresponding with one of the inmates involved. Davis fled California and became a fugitive. A few months later, the FBI arrested her in New York City. 

In 1972, she was declared not guilty. The fact she purchased the guns used in the shooting was not considered sufficient evidence. After her release, she toured communist nations such as Cuba, West Germany, and Russia. Davis wrote many books detailing her experiences.

Davis was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences earlier this year. Davis remains a strong voice in support of African-Americans around the country.

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Sources used:, Wikipedia, Brittanica, Harvard Radcliffe Institute, HuckMag