Angela Davis is a political activist, author, and professor. She became an international symbol of the Black Liberation movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Angela Yvonne Davis was born in Birmingham Alabama on January 26, 1944. At the young age of 4, Davis and her family moved out of the projects of Birmingham and into a large house in a nearby neighborhood. However, Birmingham was very hostile and prejudice towards blacks, so when other black families started to move into the neighborhood the whites would do anything to stop them. One vast measure was to bomb the house of the blacks. Eventually people started calling that section of the town “Dynamite Hill”.
Growing up, Angela witnessed the horror and brutality that was going on in her town. She had to attend black-only schools which were very poor and ride at the back of the buses. Her parents made it their duty to educate her about the racial injustice going on. As she entered high school, the Civil Rights Movement was beginning to hit Birmingham. Her parents were members of the NAACP and although she didn’t quite understand it, she knew it was time to leave Birmingham. At the age of 15 she left for New York and stayed with a white family. She attended Elisabeth Irwin High School and there is where she learned about socialism and studied the Communist Manifesto, which led to her ties with the Communist Party.
After graduating high school, Davis attended many different universities to go her studies. During that time she also traveled to many different places around the world such as France, Finland, and Germany. Seeing the people from around the world showed her the importance of breaking cultural barriers such as language. This influenced her to major in French at Bandies University.
Angela was never satisfied with the work she did, from being apart of the student union at the University of California to working with the Black Panther Party and the Chicano organizations, to traveling to Cuba to strengthen her beliefs in Communism. In 1968, she decided to join the Communist Party U.S.A. That same year she became a member of the Che-Lumumba Club and an active member of the Black Panther Party. Her affiliations with these radical groups made her a victim of daily harassments from those who opposed her views.
In February of 1970, Angela became immersed in a prison case that involved the Soledad Brothers. She spent most her free time trying to help them beat the case. In August of 1970, Jonathan, one of the younger brothers of the men, held up the court room in attempt to free his brother. Four people were killed including Jonathan and the judge. The guns used were registered to Davis, so even though she wasn’t present in the court at the time of the incident, she was charged with murder and conspiracy. She fled and traveled around the U.S in disguises. She became only the 3rd woman in history to be on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. She was later caught and sent to jail, before being acquitted of all charges in 1971.
After her release from prison, Davis continued to fight for the freedom and liberty of the people. She published a collection of essays called “If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance”, which described her thoughts on racial oppression in the U.S. To this day she continues to fight and is still politically active. She travels throughout the U.S. and even in Africa, Asia, and Europe lecturing, writing, and sharing her thoughts and beliefs.