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ANGELA DAVIS

Social Activist, Educator, Author (1944-)

Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad.  Over the years she has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer.  She is a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era.  Prof. Davis' political activism began when she was a youngster in Birmingham, Alabama, and continued through her high school years in New York. 

But it was not until 1969 that she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA.  In 1970, she was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on false charges, and was the subject of a intense police search that drove her underground, and culminated in one of the most famous trials in U.S. history. 

During her sixteen-month incarceration, a massive international "Free Angela Davis" campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.  Prof. Davis' long-standing commitment to prisoners' rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers which led to her own arrest and imprisonment.  Today, she remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system.  She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center, and currently is working on a comparative study of womens imprisonment in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Cuba. 

During the last twenty-five years, Prof. Davis has lectured in all of the fifty States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union.  Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of five books, including "Angela Davis: An Autobiography"; "Women, Race & Class"; "Blues Legacies", and "Black Feminism": Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, "Bessie Smith", and "Billie Holiday": and "The Angela Y. Davis Reader."  Today, she is a tenured professor in the History Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Revised: July 18, 2013.