Happy Birthday to an author, educator, feminist, and social justice activist! On this day (January 26) in 1944, Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
From a young age Angela was witness to tension between differing racial groups. She grew up in a neighborhood nicknamed “Dynamite Hill” because white neighbors bombed their black neighbors homes in an effort to drive them from the neighborhood. This was in the late 1940’s.
Angela’s father instilled in her that the opposition between races was not predetermined. Later, Angela would become an educator make others aware of the lessons she was taught by her father. Both of her parents worked as teachers.
She attended college at Bradeis University in Massachusetts on a scholarship. She was only one of three black students in her class. During her studies she traveled to foreign countries including France, Switzerland, and Finland to expand her knowledge. She studied French and graduated with honors.
After college, she attended more school in Germany and went on to get a doctorate degree in philosophy from Humboldt University in California.
Angela identified with the Communist Party USA and the Black Panther Party (another communist group). Her identification with these groups got her fired from her job as a professor at the University of California, Los Angelos (UCLA). She took legal action and eventually got her job back.
She ran for Vice President in 1980 and 1984 as a communist. In the early 1990’s she stopped identifying herself as a communist and moved toward reformism.
She has taught at Universities all across the United States and is the author of eight books with themes ranging from feminism, communism, race, and culture. Her most recent work is on the American prison system, which she believes is deeply flawed. She believes that people who are affected by poverty and racial discrimination are unfairly generalized as criminals. Her movement is to abolish prison systems. What do you think the world would be like if there were no prisons? Tell me in Shout Out, in “The Great Debate” message board. Look for the post: The World without Prisons?