“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”
Angela Davis is a strong advocate for social justice. An activist and educator, Davis diligently works against racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.
The seeds of activism were planted early in Davis’ life. Her childhood home was located in the “Dynamite Hill” section of Birmingham, Alabama. This area was nicknamed as such due to the high number of African American homes that were bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. In Ava DuVernay’s documentary, 13th, Davis states she remembers “the sounds of bombs exploding across the street, our house shaking.” She attended a segregated school and her family’s activism influenced her belief system. In the 1960’s, Davis joined the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Club, an all-black branch of the Communist Party. Due to her upbringing, Davis started a dedicated pursuit of social justice.
Marin County Courthouse, 1970
Perhaps most famously, Davis is known for being arrested and charged for the purchase of guns commissioned in a crime. The Soledad Brothers were accused of murdering a prison guard inside Soledad Prison. The brother of one of the accused created chaos in the courtroom during his trial. What started as an escape attempt led to a deadly hostage situation. Davis had purchased the guns, and served 18 months for murder, before a jury determined she was not guilty. Her time in jail led her to focus on the social problems with incarceration and the criminalization of minorities.
A Lifelong Activist and Educator
Davis gets behind movements that focus on the social plights of the marginalized in society. She has spoken at Occupy socio-political movements across the nation. Furthermore, Davis believes the Black Lives Matter movement is “what we’ve been waiting for.” Speaking at the Women’s March in January of this year, she spoke on feminism and stated we need to “join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to anti-Semitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.” In addition, Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, an organization devoted to dismantling the prison industrial complex.
Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is a documentary on Angela Davis. Jada Pinkett Smith, one of the film’s executive producers feels that Davis “became this figure that embodied justice and freedom, and that people all over the world that were fighting for justice and freedom…used her as the symbol in which to forge ahead.” Davis has continued to be a symbol, as well as an educator. She has taught at multiple universities, and has spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz, a Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and of Feminist Studies. In addition, she has authored ten books to date and lectured on most continents around the globe. A champion for change, Davis works tirelessly to bring forth equality for all.