Angela Davis

By: Alix Lambert
January 26, 2014


In August 1970, the recently fired UCLA philosophy professor ANGELA DAVIS (born 1944) became the third woman ever to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List. Why? Because was accused of purchasing weapons used by the teenage brother of George Jackson, an imprisoned Black Panther activist, in the kidnapping and killing of a Marin County, Calif. judge. Davis — who’d become prominent as a radical feminist and activist during the previous year or so, due to her association with both the Communist Party USA and the Black Panther Party, spent 18 months behind bars. She was acquitted; in the meantime, she’d become an advocate of prison abolition, no longer arguing merely for prison reform, but on behalf of a future society that would have no prisons at all. “If prison was the state-sanctioned destination for activists such as myself, it was also used as a surrogate solution to social problems associated with poverty and racism,” she was to argue. “Although imprisonment was equated with rehabilitation in the dominant discourse at that time, it was obvious to us that its primary purpose was repression.” Still a radical thinker and activist, today Davis heads up the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz.

MORE ACTIVISTS: Mother Jones | Alexander Berkman | Eugene V. Debs | Tina Modotti | Big Bill Haywood | Lucy Stone | Antônio Conselheiro | Emmeline Pankhurst | Félix Fénéon | Meridel Le Sueur | Pierre-Joseph Proudhon | Zo d’Axa | Mikhail Bakunin | Voltairine de Cleyre | Emma Goldman | Will Allen | Rosa Luxemburg | Simone de Beauvoir | Émile Henry | Pancho Villa | Joe Hill | Margaret Sanger | Aldo Leopold | Screaming Lord Sutch | Nestor Makhno | Dorothy Day | Garry Kasparov | Adriano Olivetti | Mildred Harnack | Frederick Douglass | Murray Bookchin | George Orwell | Bayard Rustin | Abbie Hoffman | Ti-Grace Atkinson | Gloria Steinem | Rudolf Rocker | Stokely Carmichael | Angela Davis


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Jules Feiffer.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Anti-Anti-Utopian (1934-43) and Blank (1944-53) Generations.