Dr. ANGELA DAVIS
- EDUCATOR AND ACTIVIST -
activist Angela Davis (1944-) became known for her involvement in a politically
charged murder case in the early 1970s.
Influenced by her segregated upbringing
in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis joined the Black Panthers and an all-black branch
of the Communist Party as a young woman. She became a professor at UCLA, but
fell out of favor with the administration due to her ties. Davis was charged
with aiding the botched escape attempt of imprisoned black radical George
Jackson, and served roughly 18 months in jail before her acquittal in 1972.
After spending time traveling and lecturing, Davis returned to the classroom as
a professor and authored several books.
Born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. Angela Davis is best known as a
radical African American educator and activist for civil rights and other
social issues. She knew about racial prejudice from her experiences with
discrimination growing up in Alabama. As a teenager, Davis organized
interracial study groups, which were broken up by the police. She also knew several
of the young African American girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing of
later moved north and went to Brandeis University in Massachusetts where she studied philosophy
with Herbert Marcuse. As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1960s,
she joined several groups, including the Black Panthers.
But she spent most of her time working with the Che-Lumumba Club, which was
all-black branch of the Communist Party.
Hired to teach
at the University of California, Los Angeles, Angela Davis ran into trouble
with the school’s administration because of her association with communism.
They fired her, but she fought them in court and got her job back. Davis still
ended up leaving when her contract expired in 1970.
academia, Angela Davis had become a strong supporter of three prison inmates of
Soledad Prison known as the Soledad brothers (they were not related). These
three men—John W. Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and George Lester Jackson—were
accused of killing a prison guard after several African American inmates had
been killed in a fight by another guard. Some thought these prisoners were
being used as scapegoats because of the political work within the prison.
During Jackson’s trial in August 1970, an
escape attempt was made and several people in the courtroom were killed. Angela
Davis was brought up on several charges, including murder, for her alleged part
in the event. There were two main pieces of evidence used at trial: the guns
used were registered to her, and she was reportedly in love with Jackson. After
spending roughly 18 months in jail, Davis was acquitted in June 1972.
time traveling and lecturing, Angela Davis returned to teaching. Today, she is
a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches
courses on the history of consciousness. Davis is the author of several books,
including Women, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003).
Clancy's comment: I always have great admiration for those who speak up, and out, about important social issues. Why, because there are many issues that need to be dealt with, and there are countless people who do absolutely nothing - not even move their lips. Circumstances never change unless people with an honourable conscience stand up and bark.
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