Davis in 2010
Angela Yvonne Davis
January 26, 1944
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Education||Brandeis University (BA)|
University of California, San Diego (MA)
Humboldt University of Berlin (PhD)
|Occupation||Educator, author, social activist|
|Employer||University of California, Santa Cruz (retired) Emerita|
|Political party||Communist Party USA (1969–1991)|
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (1991-present)
Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. She is a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ideologically a Marxist, Davis was a longtime member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She is the author of over ten books on class, feminism, race, and the U.S. prison system.
Born to an African American family in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis studied French at Brandeis University and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt in West Germany. Studying under the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, a prominent figure in the Frankfurt School, Davis became increasingly engaged in far-left politics. Returning to the United States, she studied at the University of California, San Diego before moving to East Germany, where she completed a doctorate at the Humboldt University of Berlin. After returning to the United States, she joined the Communist Party and became involved in numerous causes, including the second-wave feminist movement, the Black Panther Party, and the campaign against the Vietnam War. In 1969 she was hired as an acting assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA's governing Board of Regents soon fired her due to her Communist Party membership; after a court ruled this illegal, the university fired her again, this time for her use of inflammatory language.
In 1970, guns belonging to Davis were used in an armed takeover of a courtroom in Marin County, California, in which four people were killed. Prosecuted for three capital felonies, including conspiracy to murder, and held in jail for over a year, she was acquitted of all charges in 1972. She visited Eastern Bloc countries in the 1970s and during the 1980s was twice the Communist Party's candidate for Vice President; at this time, she also held the position of professor of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University. Much of her work focused on the abolition of prisons and in 1997 she co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison–industrial complex. In 1991, amid the dissolution of the Soviet Union, she helped start the CCDS, a platform initially operating inside the CPUSA seeking to reorient the party's ideology away from orthodox communism. When the majority of party members voted against CCDS proposals, along with CCDS colleagues, she left the CPUSA. Also in 1991, she joined the Feminist Studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she became department director before retiring in 2008. Since then she has continued to write and remained active in movements such as Occupy and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
Davis has received various awards, including the Soviet Union's Lenin Peace Prize. Accused of supporting political violence, she has sustained criticism from the highest levels of the US government. She has also been criticized for supporting the Soviet Union and its satellites. Davis has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2020 she was listed as the 1971 "Woman of the Year" in Time magazine's "100 Women of the Year" edition, which covered the 100 years that began with women's suffrage in 1920.
Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her family lived in the "Dynamite Hill" neighborhood, which was marked in the 1950s by the bombings of houses in an attempt to intimidate and drive out middle-class blacks who had moved there. Davis occasionally spent time on her uncle's farm and with friends in New York City. She had two brothers, Ben and Reginald, and a sister, Fania. Ben played defensive back for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Davis attended Carrie A. Tuggle School, a segregated black elementary school, and later, Parker Annex, a middle-school branch of Parker High School in Birmingham. During this time, Davis's mother, Sallye Bell Davis, was a national officer and leading organizer of the Southern Negro Youth Congress, an organization influenced by the Communist Party aimed at building alliances among African Americans in the South. Davis grew up surrounded by communist organizers and thinkers, who significantly influenced her intellectual development.
Davis was involved in her church youth group as a child, and attended Sunday school regularly. She attributes much of her political involvement to her involvement with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She also participated in the Girl Scouts 1959 national roundup in Colorado. As a Girl Scout, she marched and picketed to protest racial segregation in Birmingham.
By her junior year of high school, Davis had been accepted by an American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) program that placed black students from the South in integrated schools in the North. She chose Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village. There she was recruited by a Communist youth group, Advance.
Davis was awarded a scholarship to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she was one of three black students in her class. She encountered the Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse at a rally during the Cuban Missile Crisis and became his student. In a 2007 television interview, Davis said, "Herbert Marcuse taught me that it was possible to be an academic, an activist, a scholar, and a revolutionary." She worked part-time to earn enough money to travel to France and Switzerland and attended the eighth World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki. She returned home in 1963 to a Federal Bureau of Investigation interview about her attendance at the Communist-sponsored festival.
During her second year at Brandeis, Davis decided to major in French and continued her intensive study of philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre. She was accepted by the Hamilton College Junior Year in France Program. Classes were initially at Biarritz and later at the Sorbonne. In Paris, she and other students lived with a French family. She was in Biarritz when she learned of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, committed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, in which four black girls were killed. She grieved deeply as she was personally acquainted with the victims.
Nearing completion of her degree in French, Davis realized her major interest was philosophy. She was particularly interested in Marcuse's ideas. On returning to Brandeis, she sat in on his course. Marcuse, she wrote in her autobiography, was approachable and helpful. She began making plans to attend the University of Frankfurt for graduate work in philosophy. In 1965, she graduated magna cum laude, a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
University of Frankfurt
In Germany, with a monthly stipend of $100, she lived first with a German family and later with a group of students in a loft in an old factory. After visiting East Berlin during the annual May Day celebration, she felt that the East German government was dealing better with the residual effects of fascism than were the West Germans. Many of her roommates were active in the radical Socialist German Student Union (SDS), and Davis participated in some SDS actions. Events in the United States, including the formation of the Black Panther Party and the transformation of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to an all-black organization, drew her interest upon her return.
Marcuse had moved to a position at the University of California, San Diego, and Davis followed him there after her two years in Frankfurt. On her way back, she stopped in London to attend a conference on "The Dialectics of Liberation." The black contingent at the conference included the Trinidadian-American Stokely Carmichael and the British Michael X. Although moved by Carmichael's rhetoric, Davis was reportedly disappointed by her colleagues' black nationalist sentiments and their rejection of communism as a "white man's thing."
She joined the Che-Lumumba Club, an all-black branch of the Communist Party USA named for international Communist sympathizers and leaders Che Guevara and Patrice Lumumba, of Cuba and the Congo, respectively.
Professor at University of California, Los Angeles, 1969–70
Beginning in 1969, Davis was an acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Although both Princeton and Swarthmore had tried to recruit her, she opted for UCLA because of its urban location. At that time she was known as a radical feminist and activist, a member of the Communist Party USA, and an affiliate of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
In 1949, the University of California initiated a policy against hiring Communists. At their September 19, 1969, meeting, the Board of Regents fired Davis from her $10,000-a-year post because of her membership in the Communist Party, urged on by California Governor Ronald Reagan. Judge Jerry Pacht ruled the Regents could not fire Davis solely because of her affiliation with the Communist Party, and she resumed her post. The Regents fired Davis again on June 20, 1970, for the "inflammatory language" she had used in four different speeches. The report stated, "We deem particularly offensive such utterances as her statement that the regents 'killed, brutalized (and) murdered' the People's Park demonstrators, and her repeated characterizations of the police as 'pigs'". The American Association of University Professors censured the Board for this action.
Arrest and trial
On August 7, 1970, heavily armed 17-year-old African-American high-school student Jonathan Jackson, whose brother was George Jackson, one of the three Soledad Brothers, gained control of a courtroom in Marin County, California. He armed the black defendants and took Judge Harold Haley, the prosecutor, and three female jurors as hostages. As Jackson transported the hostages and two black convicts away from the courtroom, the police began shooting at the vehicle. The judge and the three black men were killed in the melee; one of the jurors and the prosecutor were injured. Although the judge was shot in the head with a blast from a shotgun, he also suffered a chest wound from a bullet that may have been fired from outside the van. Evidence during the trial showed that either could have been fatal. Davis had purchased several of the firearms Jackson used in the attack, including the shotgun used to shoot Haley, which she bought at a San Francisco pawn shop two days before the incident. She was also found to have been corresponding with one of the inmates involved.
As California considers "all persons concerned in the commission of a crime, whether they directly commit the act constituting the offense... principals in any crime so committed", Davis was charged with "aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder in the death of Judge Harold Haley", and Marin County Superior Court Judge Peter Allen Smith issued a warrant for her arrest. Hours after the judge issued the warrant on August 14, 1970, a massive attempt to find and arrest Davis began. On August 18, four days after the warrant was issued, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover listed Davis on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List; she was the third woman and the 309th person to be listed.
Soon after, Davis became a fugitive and fled California. According to her autobiography, during this time she hid in friends' homes and moved at night. On October 13, 1970, FBI agents found her at a Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in New York City. President Richard M. Nixon congratulated the FBI on its "capture of the dangerous terrorist Angela Davis."
On January 5, 1971, Davis appeared at Marin County Superior Court and declared her innocence before the court and nation: "I now declare publicly before the court, before the people of this country that I am innocent of all charges which have been leveled against me by the state of California." John Abt, general counsel of the Communist Party USA, was one of the first attorneys to represent Davis for her alleged involvement in the shootings.
While being held in the Women's Detention Center, Davis was initially segregated from other prisoners, in solitary confinement. With the help of her legal team, she obtained a federal court order to get out of the segregated area.
Across the nation, thousands of people began organizing a movement to gain her release. In New York City, black writers formed a committee called the Black People in Defense of Angela Davis. By February 1971 more than 200 local committees in the United States, and 67 in foreign countries, worked to free Davis from prison. John Lennon and Yoko Ono contributed to this campaign with the song "Angela". In 1972, after a 16-month incarceration, the state allowed her release on bail from county jail. On February 23, 1972, Rodger McAfee, a dairy farmer from Fresno, California, paid her $100,000 bail with the help of Steve Sparacino, a wealthy business owner. The United Presbyterian Church paid some of her legal defense expenses.
A defense motion for a change of venue was granted, and the trial was moved to Santa Clara County. On June 4, 1972, after 13 hours of deliberations, the all-white jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The fact that she owned the guns used in the crime was judged insufficient to establish her role in the plot. She was represented by Leo Branton Jr., who hired psychologists to help the defense determine who in the jury pool might favor their arguments, a technique that has since become more common. He hired experts to discredit the reliability of eyewitness accounts.
Other activities in the 1970s
After her acquittal, Davis went on an international speaking tour in 1972 and the tour included Cuba, where she had previously been received by Fidel Castro in 1969 as a member of a Communist Party delegation. Robert F. Williams, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael had also visited Cuba, and Assata Shakur later moved there after escaping from a U.S. prison. Her reception by Afro-Cubans at a mass rally was so enthusiastic that she was reportedly barely able to speak. Davis perceived Cuba as a racism-free country, which led her to believe that "only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed." When she returned to the United States, her socialist leanings increasingly influenced her understanding of race struggles. In 1974, she attended the Second Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women.
In 1971 the CIA estimated that five percent of Soviet propaganda efforts were directed towards the Angela Davis campaign. In August 1972, Davis visited the USSR at the invitation of the Central Committee, and received an honorary doctorate from Moscow State University.
On May 1, 1979, she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. She visited Moscow later that month to accept the prize, where she praised "the glorious name" of Lenin and the "great October Revolution".
The East German government organized an extensive campaign on behalf of Davis. In September 1972, Davis visited East Germany, where she met Erich Honecker, received an honorary degree from the University of Leipzig and the Star of People's Friendship from Walter Ulbricht. On September 11 in East Berlin she delivered a speech, "Not Only My Victory", praising the GDR and USSR and denouncing American racism, and visited the Berlin Wall, where she laid flowers at the Reinhold Huhn Memorial (Huhn was an East German guard who was killed by a man who was trying to escape with his family across the border in 1962). Davis said "We mourn the deaths of the border guards who sacrificed their lives for the protection of their socialist homeland" and "When we return to the USA, we shall undertake to tell our people the truth about the true function of this border." In 1973 she returned to East Berlin leading the U.S. delegation to the 10th World Festival of Youth and Students.
Jonestown and Peoples Temple
In the mid-1970s, Jim Jones, who developed the cult Peoples Temple, initiated friendships with progressive leaders in the San Francisco area including Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement AIM and Davis. On September 10, 1977, 14 months before the Temple's mass murder-suicide, Davis spoke via amateur radio telephone "patch" to members of his Peoples Temple living in Jonestown in Guyana. In her statement during the "Six Day Siege", she expressed support for the People's Temple anti-racism efforts and told members there was a conspiracy against them. She said, "When you are attacked, it is because of your progressive stand, and we feel that it is directly an attack against us as well."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and political prisoners in Socialist countries
In a New York City speech on July 9, 1975, Russian dissident and Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn told an AFL-CIO meeting that Davis was derelict in having failed to support prisoners in various socialist countries around the world, given her strong opposition to the US prison system. He claimed a group of Czech prisoners had appealed to Davis for support, which Solzhenitsyn said she had declined. In fact, Jiří Pelikán wrote an open letter asking her to support Czech prisoners, which Davis refused, believing that the Czech prisoners were undermining the Husák government and that Pelikán, in exile in Italy, was attacking his own country. Regarding Czech prisoners being "persecuted by the state", Solzhenitsyn claimed Davis responded, "They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison." Alan Dershowitz, who also asked Davis for support for imprisoned refuseniks in the USSR, said that a "secretary" of Davis told him "they are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism."
Later academic career
Davis was a lecturer at the Claremont Black Studies Center at the Claremont Colleges in 1975. Attendance at the course she taught was limited to 26 students out of the more than 5,000 on campus, and she was forced to teach in secret because alumni benefactors didn't want her to indoctrinate the general student population with Communist thought. College trustees made arrangements to minimize her appearance on campus, limiting her seminars to Friday evenings and Saturdays, "when campus activity is low." Her classes moved from one classroom to another and the students were sworn to secrecy. Much of this secrecy continued throughout Davis's brief time teaching at the colleges. In 2020 it was announced that Davis would be the Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturer for Pomona College's History Department, welcoming her back after 45 years.
Davis taught a Women's Studies course at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1978, and was a Professor of Ethnic Studies at the San Francisco State University from at least 1980 to 1984. She was a professor in the History of Consciousness and the Feminist Studies Departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Rutgers University from 1991 to 2008. Since then, she has been Distinguished Professor Emerita.
Davis was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Syracuse University in Spring 1992 and October 2010, and was the Randolph Visiting Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Vassar College in 1995.
In 2014, Davis returned to UCLA as a Regents' Lecturer. She delivered a public lecture on May 8 in Royce Hall, where she had given her first lecture 45 years earlier.
On May 22, 2016, Davis was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Healing and Social Justice from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco during its 48th annual commencement ceremony.
Political activism and speeches
Davis accepted the Communist Party USA's nomination for vice president, as Gus Hall's running mate, in 1980 and 1984. They received less than .02% of the vote. She left the party in 1991, founding the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. Her group broke from the Communist Party USA because of the latter's support of the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 following the fall of the Soviet Union and tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In 2014, she said she continues to have a relationship with the CPUSA but has not rejoined.
Davis has written several books. A principal focus of her current activism is the state of prisons in the United States. She considers herself an abolitionist, not a prison reformer. She has referred to the United States prison system as the "prison–industrial complex," aggravated by the establishment of privately owned and run prisons. Davis advocates focusing social efforts on education and building "engaged communities" to solve various social problems now handled through state punishment.
Davis was one of the founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison system. In recent works, she has argued that the US prison system more closely resembles a new form of slavery than a criminal justice system. According to Davis, between the late 19th century and the mid-20th century, the number of prisons in the United States sharply increased but crime rates continued to fall. She argues that racism in American society during this time was demonstrated by the disproportionate share of the African-American population who were incarcerated. "What is effective or just about this 'justice' system?" she urged people to ask.
Davis has lectured at Rutgers University, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, Brown University, Syracuse University, and other schools. As most of her teaching is at the graduate level, she says that she concentrates more on posing questions that encourage development of critical thinking than on imparting knowledge.
As early as 1969, Davis began public speaking engagements. She expressed her opposition to the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and the prison–industrial complex, and her support of gay rights and other social justice movements. In 1969, she blamed imperialism for the troubles oppressed populations suffer:
We are facing a common enemy and that enemy is Yankee Imperialism, which is killing us both here and abroad. Now I think anyone who would try to separate those struggles, anyone who would say that in order to consolidate an anti-war movement, we have to leave all of these other outlying issues out of the picture, is playing right into the hands of the enemy, she declared.
In 2001 she publicly spoke against the war on terror following the 9/11 attacks, continued to criticize the prison–industrial complex, and discussed the broken immigration system. She said that to solve social justice issues, people must "hone their critical skills, develop them and implement them." Later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she declared that the "horrendous situation in New Orleans" was due to the country's structural racism, capitalism, and imperialism.
Davis opposed the 1995 Million Man March, arguing that the exclusion of women from this event promoted male chauvinism. She said that Louis Farrakhan and other organizers appeared to prefer that women take subordinate roles in society. Together with Kimberlé Crenshaw and others, she formed the African American Agenda 2000, an alliance of Black feminists.
Davis has continued to oppose the death penalty. In 2003, she lectured at Agnes Scott College, a liberal arts women's college in Atlanta, Georgia, on prison reform, minority issues, and the ills of the criminal justice system.
In 2008, Davis was a keynote speaker at Vanderbilt University's conference, "Who Speaks for the Negro?". She has visited Vanderbilt twice since then, most recently to give the Commemorative Murray Lecture on February 25, 2015, on college activism.
On April 16, 2009, she was the keynote speaker at the University of Virginia Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies symposium on The Problem of Punishment: Race, Inequity, and Justice.
On October 31, 2011, Davis spoke at the Philadelphia and Washington Square Occupy Wall Street assemblies. Due to restrictions on electronic amplification, her words were human microphoned. In 2012 Davis was awarded the 2011 Blue Planet Award, an award given for contributions to humanity and the planet.
At the 27th Empowering Women of Color Conference in 2012, Davis said she was a vegan. She has called for the release of Rasmea Odeh, associate director at the Arab American Action Network, who was convicted of immigration fraud in relation to hiding her being convicted of murder.
Davis was an honorary co-chair of the January 21, 2017, Women's March on Washington, which occurred the day after President Trump's inauguration. The organizers' decision to make her a featured speaker was criticized from the right by Humberto Fontova and National Review. Libertarian journalist Cathy Young wrote that Davis's "long record of support for political violence in the United States and the worst of human rights abusers abroad" undermined the march.
On October 16, 2018, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia presented Davis with an honorary degree during the inaugural Viola Desmond Legacy Lecture, as part of the institution's bicentennial celebration year.
On January 7, 2019, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) rescinded Davis's Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, saying she "does not meet all of the criteria". Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and others cited criticism of Davis's vocal support for Palestinian rights and the movement to boycott Israel. Davis said her loss of the award was "not primarily an attack against me but rather against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice." On January 25, the BCRI reversed its decision and issued a public apology, stating that there should have been more public consultation.
In November 2019, along with other public figures, Davis signed a letter supporting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn describing him as "a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world", and endorsed him in the 2019 UK general election.
Representation in other media
- The first song released in support of Davis was "Angela" (1971), by Italian singer-songwriter and musician Virgilio Savona with his group Quartetto Cetra. He received some anonymous threats.
- The Rolling Stones song "Sweet Black Angel," recorded in 1970 and released on their album Exile on Main Street (1972), is dedicated to Davis. It is one of the band's few overtly political releases. Its lines include: "She's a sweet black angel, not a gun-toting teacher, not a Red-lovin' schoolmarm / Ain't someone gonna free her, free de sweet black slave, free de sweet black slave".
- Bob Dylan's song "George Jackson" (1971) is a tribute to George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers and the older brother of Jonathan Jackson, who was killed during an escape attempt from San Quentin.
- John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their song "Angela" on the album Some Time in New York City (1972) in support of Davis, and a small photo of her appears on the album's cover at the bottom left.
- The jazz musician Todd Cochran, also known as Bayete, recorded his song "Free Angela (Thoughts...and all I've got to say)" in 1972.
- Tribe Records co-founder Phil Ranelin released a song dedicated to Davis, "Angela's Dilemma", on Message From The Tribe (1972), a spiritual jazz collectible.
References in other venues
In Renato Guttuso's painting The Funerals of Togliatti (1972), Davis is depicted, among other figures of communism, in the left framework, near the author's self-portrait, Elio Vittorini, and Jean-Paul Sartre.
In 1971, Black playwright Elvie Moore wrote the play Angela is Happening, depicting Davis on trial with figures such as Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and H. Rap Brown as eyewitnesses proclaiming her innocence. The play was performed at the Inner City Cultural Center and at UCLA, with Pat Ballard as Davis.
The documentary Angela Davis: Portrait of a Revolutionary (1972) was directed by UCLA Film School student Yolande du Luart. It follows Davis from 1969 to 1970, documenting her dismissal from UCLA. The film wrapped shooting before the Marin County incident.
Also in 2018, a cotton T-shirt with Davis's face on it was featured in Prada's 2018 collection.
On January 27, 2019, it was announced that Julie Dash, who is credited as the first Black female director to have a theatrical release of a film (Daughters of the Dust) in the U.S., is directing a film based on Davis's life.
- If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (New York: Third Press, 1971), ISBN 0-893-88022-1.
- Angela Davis: An Autobiography, Random House (September 1974), ISBN 0-394-48978-0.
- Joan Little: The Dialectics of Rape (New York: Lang Communications, 1975)
- Women, Race and Class (1981), ISBN 0-394-71351-6.
- Women, Culture & Politics, Vintage (February 19, 1990), ISBN 0-679-72487-7.
- The Angela Y. Davis Reader (ed. Joy James), Wiley-Blackwell (December 11, 1998), ISBN 0-631-20361-3.
- Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, Vintage Books (January 26, 1999), ISBN 0-679-77126-3.
- Are Prisons Obsolete?, Seven Stories Press (April 2003), ISBN 1-58322-581-1.
- Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire, Seven Stories Press (October 1, 2005), ISBN 1-58322-695-8.
- The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues (City Lights, 2012), ISBN 978-0872865808.
- Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, Haymarket Books (2015), ISBN 978-1-60846-564-4.
- Herbert Marcuse, Philosopher of Utopia: A Graphic Biography (foreword, City Lights, 2019), ISBN 9780872867857.
Interviews and appearances
- An Interview with Angela Davis. Cassette. Radio Free People, New York, 1971.
- Myerson, M. "Angela Davis in Prison". Ramparts Magazine, March 1971: 20–21.
- Seigner, Art. Angela Davis: Soul and Soledad. Phonodisc. Flying Dutchman, New York, 1971.
- Walker, Joe. Angela Davis Speaks. Phonodisc. Folkways Records, New York, 1971.
- "Angela Davis Talks about her Future and her Freedom". Jet, July 27, 1972: 54–57.
- Davis, Angela Y. I Am a Black Revolutionary Woman (1971). Phonodisc. Folkways, New York, 1977.
- Phillips, Esther. Angela Davis Interviews Esther Phillips. Cassette. Pacifica Tape Library, Los Angeles, 1977.
- Cudjoe, Selwyn. In Conversation with Angela Davis. Videocassette. ETV Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, 1985. 21-minute interview.
- Davis, Angela Y. "Women on the Move: Travel Themes in Ma Rainey's Blues" in Borders/diasporas. Sound Recording. University of California, Santa Cruz: Center for Cultural Studies, Santa Cruz, 1992.
- Davis, Angela Y. Black Is... Black Ain't. Documentary film. Independent Television Service (ITVS), 1994.
- Interview Angela Davis (Public Broadcasting Service, Spring 1997)
- Davis, Angela Y. The Prison Industrial Complex and its Impact on Communities of Color. Videocassette. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI, 2000.
- Barsamian, D. "Angela Davis: African American Activist on Prison-Industrial Complex". Progressive 65.2 (2001): 33–38.
- "September 11 America: an Interview with Angela Davis". Policing the National Body: Sex, Race, and Criminalization. Cambridge, Ma.: South End Press, 2002.
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975, documentary film prominently featuring Davis in a number of rarely seen Swedish interviews, released 2011.
- "Activist Professor Angela Davis" episode of Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4, December 3, 2014.
- Criminal Queers, a fictional DIY film examining the relationship between the LGBT community and the criminal justice system, released 2015.
- 13th, documentary file about the 13th Amendment and history of the civil rights movement, released 2016.
- The National United Committee to Free Angela Davis collection is at the Main Library at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (A collection of thousands of letters received by the Committee and Davis from people in the US and other countries.) 
- The complete transcript of her trial, including all appeals and legal memoranda, has been preserved in the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Library in Berkeley, California.
- Davis's papers are archived at the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Records including correspondence, statements, clippings and other documents about Davis's dismissal from the University of California, Los Angeles due to her political affiliation with the Communist Party are archived at UCLA.
- "Angela Davis, Sweetheart of the Far Left, Finds Her Mr. Right". People. July 21, 1980. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "Angela Davis Now". Los Angeles Times. March 8, 1989. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
- "Angela Davis (January 26, 1944)". African American Heritage. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
- Pettit, Emma (July 9, 2020). "Some Scholars Have Long Talked About Abolishing the Police. Now People Are Listening. What Comes Next?". Chronicle of Higher Education.
- National Women's Hall of Fame, Angela Davis
- Magazine, Time. "100 Women of the Year". Time Magazine. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- Davis, Angela Yvonne (March 1989). "Rocks". Angela Davis: An Autobiography. New York City: International Publishers. ISBN 0-7178-0667-7.
- Aptheker, Bettina (1999). The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (2nd ed.). Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801485975.
- Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Bhavnani; Davis, Angela (Spring 1989). "Complexity, Activism, Optimism: An Interview with Angela Y. Davis". Feminist Review (31): 66–81. JSTOR 1395091.
- "The Radicalization of Angela Davis," Ebony, July 1971: n.p., Mag.
- Barbarella Fokos (August 23, 2007). "The Bourgeois Marxist". sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- Davis, Angela Yvonne (March 1989). "Waters". Angela Davis: An Autobiography. New York City: International Publishers. ISBN 0-7178-0667-7.
- Davis, Angela Yvonne (March 1989). "Flames". Angela Davis: An Autobiography. New York City: International Publishers. ISBN 0-7178-0667-7.
- "Angela Davis Biography: Academic, Civil Rights Activist, Scholar, Women's Rights Activist". biography. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
- "Angela Davis | The HistoryMakers". thehistorymakers.org. Archived from the original on March 31, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- Mechthild Nagel (May 2, 2005). "Women Outlaws: Politics of Gender and Resistance in the US Criminal Justice System". SUNY Cortland. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. January 8, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- "Interview with Angela Davis". BookTV. October 3, 2004.
- The Angela Y. Davis Reader. Blackwell. 1998. ISBN 9780631203612. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
- Myrna Oliver, "Jerry Pacht: L.A. Judge, Member of Judicial Commission," Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1997
- Wolfgang Saxon (April 14, 1997). "Jerry Pacht, 75, Retired Judge Who Served on Screening Panel". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Marquez, Letisia (May 5, 2014). "Angela Davis returns to UCLA classroom 45 years after controversy". UCLA Newsroom. University of California at Los Angeles. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- "University Censured for Dismissing Angela Davis". Jet. 42 (9). Johnson Publications. May 25, 1972. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Turner, Wallace (April 28, 2011). "California Regents Drop Communist From Faculty". The New York Times.
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Several days later, I received a call back from Ms Davis' secretary informing me that Davis had looked into the people on my list and none were political prisoners. "They are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism." Davis would urge that they be kept in prison where they belonged.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Angela Davis.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Angela Davis|
- Angela Davis at AllMovie
- "Davis quotations". Black History Daily.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Angela Davis on IMDb
- "Angela Davis Biography, The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany". aacvr-germany.org. Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "Angela Davis". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
- "Angela Davis Ephemera Collection, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library". University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.
- "Film clip, Davis speaking at Florida A&M University's Black History Month convocation". Florida Memory. 1979.
- The New York Times archive of Davis-related articles, nytimes.com;
- Angela Y. Davis Papers, 1937-2017 MC 940. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
- Angela Y. Davis Collection of the Schlesinger Library A/D260. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
|Party political offices|
| Communist Party USA Vice Presidential candidate
1980 (lost), 1984 (lost)