Angela Davis in 2010.

Angela Davis is an activist, scholar, writer, and retired professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz, in the Department of Consciousness.

She was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944, and as a young African-American women she experienced racial prejudice and discrimination. These early experiences shaped her future, as she began joining organisations aimed at fighting this. As a teenager, she organised interracial study sessions which were broken up by the police.

She went to Brandeis University¬†in Massachusetts, where she studied Philosophy and French, spending a year in France on the Hamilton College Junior Year in France Programme. Part of this was spent at Biarritz and some at the Sorbonne. While she was in Biarritz, the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing occured. Committed by the Ku Klux Klan, 4 black girls were killed. Davis grieved, as she had known some of the victims. After she graduated, she attended the University of California-San Diego to study for her Master’s degree. She was associated with several groups, including the Black Panthers, but her main focus was the Che-Lumumba group ‚Äì the black branch of the communist party, named for Che Guevara and Patrice Lumumba.

After completing her doctorate at Humboldt University in Berlin, she got a teaching job at UCLA. She was fired for her links with communism. However, she fought back. By taking them to court, she got her job back, but she left after her contract ended.

Davis supported the three inmates of Soledad prison known as the Soledad brothers: John W. Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and George Lester Jackson. They had been accused of killing a prison guard after several African American inmates had been killed by another prison guard. Some – including Davis – believed they had been scapegoated. During Jackson’s trial, he attempted an armed escape in which 4 people were killed. Davis was accused of being involved in the attempted escape. The two main pieces of evidence against her were that the guns used had been purchased by her two days before, and that she was supposedly in love with Jackson. She spent 18 months in prison, before she was acquitted in June 1972.

After her acquittal, she spent time travelling and lecturing before returning to teaching. She taught at the University of California-Santa Cruz until 2008. She has written many books, including Women, Culture & Politics, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and Women, Race & Class.

-Danielle Triggs
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Pin It on Pinterest