JANUARY 26, Angela Davis (1944-)


Angela Davis is an activist, author, and professor who has fought on the forefront against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all of their intersections.

In 1997, she came out as a lesbian during an interview with Out Magazine and, since then, continued to tackle oppression faced by the black community, women, and the LGBT community.

A prominent and influential Black Marxist feminist intellectual and activist, Angela Davis was born and raised in Jim Crow Birmingham, Alabama.

Her activism started early, as she marched against segregation as a Girl Scout. Her involvement in the communist movement began in high school, and deepened during her undergraduate education in West Germany.

She moved to California to pursue her graduate degree, and had a brief and tumultuous stint as a professor at UCLA, where she was fired for being a communist, rehired by court order, and fired again for her political beliefs.

Angela Davis by Stephen Shames (1969)
Davis became a cause celebre for progressives and the left when she was put on trial for murder for having purchased weapons later used in a killing. She was ultimately found not guilty.

Angela Davis arrives for pre-trial hearings in San Rafael, CA, 1971.

She continued her activism and academic work with her increased public profile, and was the Communist Party's candidate for Vice President in 1980 and 1984. She terminated her long association with the Party in 1991, helping to found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Davis has written a number of books on feminist, Marxist, and Black struggle, including Are Prisons Obsolete? and Women, Race and Class.

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

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