Davis, Angela (1944–)
Davis, Angela (1944–)
African-American revolutionary and activist. Name variations: Angela Y. Davis. Born Angela Yvonne Davis on Jan 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama; dau. of B. Frank Davis (gas station owner) and Sallye B. Davis (teacher); Brandeis University, BA magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; attended Goethe University, Frankfurt, 1965–67, and University of California at San Diego, 1967–69; m. Hilton Braithwaite, 1980 (div. several years later); no children.
Revolutionary activist, scholar, and Communist who gained fame when prosecutors claimed she had assisted a courtroom rebellion by radical black prisoners; joined Communist Party (July 1968); taught at UCLA (1969–70); convinced they were being targeted because of their political views, became a vocal defender of 3 black radicals, including George Jackson, who had been incarcerated in Soledad Prison and accused of killing a white prison guard, though there was little evidence (early 1970); became involved with Jackson and published a collection of his letters, Soledad Brother (1970); when Jackson's younger brother took a gun from her closet and used it in an attempt to free 3 other radical black prisoners from a courtroom in Marin Co. which resulted in 4 deaths, was sought for murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit murder and rescue prisoners, though she had been nowhere near the courthouse; went underground (Aug 9, 1970), but was arrested (Oct 13, 1970); was acquitted of all charges in a highly publicized political trial (June 4, 1972); served as co-chair of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (1973); was full-time lecturer, San Francisco State University (1978); was vice-presidential candidate on the Communist Party ticket (1980 and 1984); served on board of directors, National Black Women's Health Project (1983); challenged Communist Party (1991); endorsed Committees of Correspondence (1992); writings include Women, Race and Class (1981), Women, Culture and Politics (1989) and Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1998). Received Lenin Peace Prize (1979).
See also memoir If They Come in the Morning (Signet, 1971) and An Autobiography (International, 1988); and Women in World History.