Tag Archives: Angela Davis

Revolutionary Icon Angela Davis

1-There have been countless freedom fighters during the four hundred year fight for black liberation and the struggle for freedom. Unfortunately, not many would survive to tell their story nor do black people recognized how significant the black woman was in the struggle. In modern times, there was a woman who fought the power and won. Her name is synonymous with the struggle. Her name is Angela Davis. She is an activist, educator, author, and a world-renowned icon who has authored many books and lectured throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.

Davis gained her international reputation in the early 1970s when she was tried for conspiracy and imprisoned. She was later fully acquitted after being implicated in a shootout in front of a California courthouse. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center, Davis focused on exposing the racism that is endemic to the America’s prison system and exploring new ways to deconstruct oppression and race hatred.

Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, January 26, 1944, in an area known as Dynamite Hill because of the large number of African American homes bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. She attended the segregated Carrie A. Tuggle Elementary School, and Parker Annex, a middle-school branch of Parker High School in Birmingham.

By her junior year, she had applied to and was accepted at an American Friends Service Committee program that placed black students from the South in integrated schools in the North. She chose Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village in New York City. There she was introduced to socialism and communism where she was recruited by a Communist youth group, meeting children of some of the leaders of the Communist Party, including her lifelong friend, Bettina Aptheker.

Davis was awarded a scholarship to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she was one of three black students in her freshman class. Feeling alienated by the isolation of the campus; Angela Davis worked part-time to earn enough money to travel to France and Switzerland before she went on to attend the eighth World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki, Finland.

She returned home in 1963 to an FBI interview about her attendance at the Communist-sponsored festival. Angela Davis would go on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris and later the University of Frankfurt. Finally, she earned a master’s degree from the University of California San Diego campus and her doctorate in philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin.

In 1969, Davis was known as a radical feminist and activist, a member of the Communist Party, and an associate of the Black Panther Party. She was working as an acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at UCLA. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed the California Board of Regents that Davis was a member of the American Communist Party, they terminated her contract in 1970.

Ms. Davis became active in the campaign to improve prison conditions. She became particularly interested in the case of George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, two African Americans who had established a chapter of the Black Panthers in California’s Soledad Prison. On the 13th of January 1970, Nolan and two other black prisoners were killed by a prison guard. A few days later the Monterey County Grand Jury ruled that the guard had committed “justifiable homicide.” When a guard was later found murdered, Jackson and two other prisoners were indicted for his murder. It was claimed that Jackson had sought revenge for the killing of his friend, W. L. Nolan.

On August 7, 1970, Superior Court Judge Harold Haley, along with several other hostages, was abducted from his Marin County, California, courtroom at gunpoint and murdered by 17-year-old Jonathon Jackson during his effort to free his brother George Jackson. The firearms used in the attack were purchased by Angela Davis, including the shotgun used to kill Haley, which had been purchased only two days prior and sawed-off.

Numerous letters written by Angela Davis were found in the prison cell of George Jackson, as well. The California warrant issued for Davis charged her as an accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide. On August 18, 1970, Davis became the third woman to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.

Davis became a fugitive and fled California. She evaded the police for more than two months before being captured in New York City. John Abt, general counsel of the Communist Party, was one of the first attorneys to represent Davis for her alleged involvement in the shootings. While being held in the Women’s Detention Center there she was initially segregated from the general population, but with the help of her legal team soon obtained a federal court order to get out of the segregated area.

In 1972, she was tried, and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The mere fact that she owned the guns used in the crime was not sufficient to establish her responsibility for the plot. John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote the song “Angela” on their 1972 studio album “Some Time In New York City” to show their support. Mick Jagger, of the Rolling Stones, wrote the song “Sweet Black Angel” in her support. The song was released in 1972 on the album Exile on Main Street.

She achieved tenure at the University of California at Santa Cruz despite the fact that former Governor Ronald Reagan swore she would never teach again in the University of California system. She taught me that revolution was of the mind and knowledge is the power needed to fight the power! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

From the Angela Davis Bio


Warrior Princess Assata Shakur

007_1000There has been much talk about Cuba since the president changed the government’s policy and the normalizing relations. One of the misconceptions about Cuba or at least the faces we see are white; not true. Most of the island’s population is made up of the descendants of African slaves. One thing of great concern to some is that the agencies tasked with law enforcement will try to seek extradition for Assata Shakur exiled there for many years.

I lived through the 1960s and witnessed the excessive efforts government agencies used to destroy black leaders and organizations all over the country. When they talk about terrorism, the government failed to address militias or the KKK. In fact, every black person is a political prisoner because our forefathers were kidnapped from our native lands.

Yet, people like Fred Hampton, Bunche Carter, Malcolm X, and Dr. King who was known as men of peace were all targeted through what was called COINTELPRO. In my view, there have been a consistent and sustained assaults on the freedom of people of color though police shootings and abuse, which is a most pressing issue in the African American community. The might go back to Nate Turner when anyone trying to change the system must be destroyed and violently.

I won’t rant too much on the decision to list the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur as the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. So I will simply ask that you listen to legendary black activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.”

She argues that the FBI’s move much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago is politically motivated. Listen to the facts and see if this is an effort to strike fear and retribution designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago may seem like it was a long time ago but slavery ended in 1865, and it took until 1965 for African American’s to use the same bathroom or drink from the same water fountain as whites.

We are now living in the 21st century, and we’re still fighting the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison, and poverty. A professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, Mr. Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973 says that this is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami; with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion to capture her.

I say, let’s not forget this woman and hope the Cuban government will tell America to leave her alone. You be the judge. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

(Democracy Now)


%d bloggers like this: