Angela Y. Davis

  • 1944: Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 26 as the first child.
    She grew up in a moderately well-to-do family. Both of her parents were teachers and they provided a model of black activism for their four children. There was a sharp contrast between her middle-class family life and the black schools which she attended and the strong racism in Birmingham.
  • 1959: Davis left home when she was fifteen to attend Elisabeth Irwine, an integrative private high school in New York (she received a scholarship from the "American Friends Southern Negro Student Committee).
  • 1961: Davis went to college in Brandeis, Mass., where she took French as a major.
  • 1963: Davis spent her junior year in Paris, where she had contact with Algerian revolutionaries.
  • 1964: Back in Brandeis she started studying philosophy with Herbert Marcuse, the marxist philosopher.
  • 1965: After she had finished college, Marcuse sent her to West-Germany to study at the "Institute for Social Research" in Frankfurt.
    Living with SDS-leaders in the so called "Factory" she experienced the heyday of the German student movement.
  • 1967: Davis came back to America and continued her studies with Marcuse as her doctoral adviser, now teaching at the University of California in San Diego.
  • 1968: Davis joined the Communist Party of the United States and committed herself to the work in the all-black section called the "Che Lumumba Club".
    In joining the Communist Party she expressed her belief that "the only path of liberation for black people is that which leads toward complete and radical overthrow of the capitalist class".
  • 1969: In the Spring Davis was hired by the Philosophy Department of UCLA as an assistant professor, fired illegally by the Regents in September because of her membership in the Communist Party, and finally rehired due to the pressure from her colleagues, students and the critical public.
  • 1970: Looking for a reason to fire her the Regents finally found one in her participation in the defense of the "Soledad Brothers" (accused of having killed a prison guard).
    On August 7, the shootout in the Marin County Center (San Rafael, California) took place. Jonathan Jackson tried unsuccessfully to free his brother George, one of the Soledad Brothers, by taking hostages.
    On August 11, the F.B.I. issued a warrant for Angela Davis's arrest. She was accused of having bought the guns for the shootout and therefore charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the events of August 7.
    On October 13, she was arrested by the F.B.I. in New York. Her arrest evoked a world-wide political campaign for her defense.
  • 1972: After she spent sixteen month in prison, Davis's trial finally started on February 27. Acting as her own co-counsel she was judged by an all-white jury.
    On June 4, she was acquitted of all charges.

Books by and about Angela Y. Davis

Davis, Angela Yvonne: Angela Davis - An Autobiography. New York, Random House, 1974.

Davis, Angela Yvonne: If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance. New York, Third Press, 1971.

Davis, Angela Yvonne: Women, Race and Class. New York, Random House, 1981.

Ashman, Charles R.: The People vs. Angela Davis. New York, Pinnacle Books, 1972.

Aptheker, Bettina: The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis. New York, International Publishers, 1975.

Major, Reginald: Justice in the Round: The Trial of Angela Davis. New York Third Press, 1973.

Nadelson, Regina: Who is Angela Davis? The Biography of a Revolutionary. New York, P.H. Wyden, 1972.

New York Committee to Free Angela Davis. A Political Biography of Angela Davis. 1971.

Parker, J.: Angela Davis: The Making of a Revolutionary, Arlington House, 1973.

Timothy, Mary: Jury Woman: The Story of the Trial of Angela Y. Davis. Written by a member of the jury. San Francisco, Glide Publications, 1975.

prepared for the web by Harold Marcuse, Dec. 21, 2002, updated 5/18/05
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