TW: mentioning of violence and murder
Today’s informative article shortly introduces a very important voice in the fight for social justice: Angela Davis.
Davis has pretty much fought her whole life against the social injustice that is very prominent in the US. Here she was concerned with several issues but mostly with the injustice existing in the prison system. Other topics she is associated with are the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s but also feminism.
Get to know the woman who dedicated her life to the fight of social injustice a little bit better by reading the article below (our author has added something special at the end of the article, don’t miss out on that)
Angela Davis| *26-01-1994 | USA | Philosopher, Scholar, Activist
In order to fight for women’s rights, one must also fight for the rights of other minorities that don’t necessarily have to do with womanhood. Angela Davis is considered a feminist for her book ‘Women, Race and Class’, but mostly was involved in the 60s and 70s in the civil rights movements that can be compared to the Black Lives Matter movement that we know today. She was a radical leftist, not only in her beliefs but also her actions. She was involved with movements such as the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Club, which was the black branch of the Communist Party. She has partaken in the fight against racism in the American prison system also, for which she had to serve over a year in prison as a political prisoner.
Angela grew up in the 50’s which was a dangerous age to grow up as a black woman, especially in the United States’ Alabama. This caused a lot of experience with racism from a very young age. The Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK, would regularly commit terrorist bombing attacks on African American citizens in Angela’s neighborhood. This eventually led to the bombing of an African American church in 1963 in Birmingham, where four children were killed, who were acquaintances of Angela.
In highschool, Angela started to gain an interest in civil rights movements and activism, which took form in reading literature about those topics and organizing interracial study groups, which eventually were broken up by the police. Angela got a scholarship at 15, which allowed her to finish highschool in New York, where she got introduced to a communist youth group. Angela’s mom was also involved with communist groups. She was studying for her masters degree and often would take Angela with her to NYU. Angela’s mom was an active member of the NAACP, which is short for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People This is an organization that to this day ensures civil rights for black people.
Angela herself also pursued an academic education, studying French at Brandeis University from which she graduated cum laude. She also studied philosophy for two years in Germany, at the University of Frankfurt, and another year in Paris. She finished her bachelors degree in the States, for which she graduated cum laude. She pursued a master’s degree in California and got involved in several groups such as the Black Panthers, mostly being involved with the Communist Party. This got her in trouble later on, as she got a job at the University of California. She was fired because of her communist tendencies, but got her job back in court which allowed her to work at UCLA until she left in 1970. During this time outside of her job, Angela was incredibly involved in the Soledad brothers’ case. That case was about three African American inmates, who were charged for the killing of a prison guard after several African American inmates had been unrightfully killed by other prison guards. The killing of the black inmates was not investigated, while the Soledad brothers now risked getting lifelong in prison. Angela Davis was part of the Soledad Brothers’ Defense Committee, which was founded to raise funds and publicize the case. In August 1970, an attempt was made to free the brothers during their trial which led to the wounding of several people. Four people were killed during this event. After the investigation, the police found out that Angela Davis name was connected to the guns used during this event, which caused several allegations for murder and kidnapping against her. These murder conspiracies got her to serve in jail, as what some called a political prisoner, until she was found not guilty in 1972.
Thereafter, Angela Davis continued with her academic career and her activism, traveling the world and writing several books on the US prison system and racism issues. To this day, Angela Davis lectures at universities around the world on the same topics, also including women’s rights, to which she takes an interesting stance. Angela Davis has been an incredibly important voice in the fight for social justice and still is to this day.
If you want to get a sense of Angela Davis’ philosophy, I suggest watching this short video of Angela Davis on the meaning of feminism; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzQkVfO9ToQ
Author: Siene Verbeek
Image: Columbia GSAPP