Angela Davis

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 US 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 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.

Books in order of publication:


If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (New York: Third Press, 1971).

Angela Davis: An Autobiography, Random House (September 1974). 

Joan Little: The Dialectics of Rape (New York: Lang Communications, 1975) Women, Race and Class (1981).

Women, Culture & Politics, Vintage (February 19, 1990).

The Angela Y. Davis Reader (ed. Joy James), Wiley-Blackwell (December 11, 1998).

 Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, Vintage Books (January 26, 1999).

Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press (April 2003).

 Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire, Seven Stories Press (October 1, 2005).

The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues (City Lights, 2012).

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, Haymarket Books (2015).

Herbert Marcuse, Philosopher of Utopia: A Graphic Biography (foreword, City Lights, 2019)

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