Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is a radical activist, primarily working for racial and gender equality and for prison reform.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and a 1965 graduate of Brandeis University, Davis worked as a philosophy lecturer at the UCLA during the 1960s, during which time she also was a radical feminist and activist, a member of both the Communist Party USA and the Black Panther Party. In a controversial decision, the University of California fired her from her job in 1969 because of her membership in the Communist Party. Davis ran for Vice President on the Communist ticket in 1980 and 1984 along with Gus Hall.
In 1970 Davis became the third woman on the FBI's Most Wanted List when she was charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide, due to her alleged participation in an escape attempt from Marin County Hall of Justice. She evaded the police for two weeks before being captured, tried, and acquitted of all charges eighteen months later.
She has continued a career of activism, and has written several books. A principal focus of her current activism is the state of prisons within the United States. She is currently a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Davis unsuccessfully rallied against the 1995 Million Man March, arguing that the exclusion of women from this event necessarily promoted male chauvinism, and that the organizers of the event, including Louis Farrakhan, preferred women to take subordinate roles in society. She formed the African American Agenda 2000, a small alliance of Black feminists in response to the March's growing popularity. Her actions arguably injured her previously strong popularity among African Americans.
Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.
List of books
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971)
FrameUp: The Opening Defense Statement Made (1972)
Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974)
Women, Race and Class (1981)
Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism (1985)
Women, Race and Politics (1989)
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1999)
The Angela Y. Davis Reader (1999)
Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)