Angela Davis is one of the fiercest scholars, authors, and human rights activists of our lifetime. Her work began in the 1960’s and 70’s with an attentive focus on the black community and politics. It’s Angela’s continued passion for liberating the oppressed and confronting systemic oppression that distinguishes her work.
As a political activist, Davis has been linked to the Black Panther, Marxism and the black communist party. She helped to cultivate a communicative culture amongst diverse groups of people as a professor, author, and educator. Over the course of 5 decades, Davis’s philosophical framework has been rooted in acknowledging the need of servitude to the community.
‘I think that has to do with my awareness that in a sense we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.’ -Angela Davis
Angela Davis Speaks at the LA Embassy
Angela Davis was photographed here just a few days after being acquitted and released from jail. Davis delivered a speech to over 1500 attendees at the Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles. Angela Davis’ speech at the Embassy Auditorium ranks as her number 5 greatest moments. The speech discussed human rights for all oppressed people, working as a community, and the challenges of being an activist.
‘As soon as my trial was over, we tried to use the energy that had developed around my case to create another organization, which we called the National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression.’ -Angela Davis
Angela Davis is Acquitted
In the 1970’s, Davis became involved in advocating for the Soledad Brothers. The Soledad Brothers were 3 black men accused of killing a prison guard. The brothers radicalized by attempting to empower inmates, teaching Marxism, and black nationalism. Davis became entrenched with the Soledad Brothers case and even was indicted on murder charges for supplying them with murder weapons. She’s spent 16 months in jail on kidnapping, conspiracy, and murder charges.
The photograph above shows Angela Davis in court displaying her fist in the air as a symbol of black power. Evidence was presented in the trial in which Davis was later acquitted in 1972 of all charges. This was a significant moment in history because Davis’ allies in the US and across the world worked together to have her released.
‘As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people’s struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism.’-Angela Davis
Angela Joins the Black Panther Party
Angela Davis became associates with Bobby Seales and Huey Newton of the Black Panther party. In 1968, Davis assisted in advocating the agenda of the Black Panther party which included human rights, and the end of poverty. It was a crucial point in black history and civil rights because most of Davis’ work was considered radical by the US government.
The Black Panther party was known for its reinforcement of the constitutional amendment, the right to bear arms. Like many human rights leaders, Davis joined political groups including an all-black communist group that held strong views about class, race, and economy. This moment in history ranks at number 3 on our Top 5 Angela Davis’ Moments.
‘I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.’- Angela Davis
Angela Davis Becomes Professor at UCLA
Angela was hired as a professor in 1969 at UCLA. Angela can be seen giving a lecture with poise, power, and grace in the photo above. Davis, a self-proclaimed Communist, ignited the Reagan Administration to take action on her employment at the University. The Reagan Administration stated that Davis’ lectures about Communism posed an endangerment to society and America. In June 1970, Angela Davis was fired as a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Many people became enraged and protested for Davis to obtain her job as a professor of philosophy.
‘I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively.’-Angela Davis
Angela Speaks German in East Berlin
Angela speaks German in East Berlin in 1973 at the Communist World Festival for the Youth. Davis served as head of American delegation at the world festival. East Berlin society viewed Davis as a pioneer that helped to solidify connections for the youth in East Berlin. It’s evident that Davis assisted in shaping and developing foreign policy which made her popular with the youth in Germany. Angela speaking German in East Berlin helped to bridge racial gaps, interconnectedness, and identity. It’s marked as an important event in East Berlin history and ranks as the top Angela Davis moments of all-time.
‘It’s true that it’s within the realm of cultural politics that young people tend to work through political issues, which I think is good, although it’s not going to solve the problems.’ -Angela Davis