Angela Yvonne Davis is a self-identified lesbian radical feminist Communist retired professor (from the University of California, Santa Cruz) and leftist activist on social and human rights issues who had close relations with the Black Panther Party during the Civil rights movement. Davis was also a prominent member of the Communist Party USA. She is currently Professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Davis was raised, she told Julian Bond, by a mother who was “an officer of the Southern Negro Youth Congress,” an organization completely under the control of the Communist Party, and “was involved in the campaign to free the Scottsboro Nine.”
|“||And as a child, I had the opportunity to spend time with black communists who had come to Birmingham to help organize there, to help organize the Southern Negro Youth Congress. … I often tell people that later, when I joined the Communist Party, it was a difficult decision because I always considered the Communist Party so conservative. It was my parents' friends, you know, I wanted to do something more interesting and more radical, but … I'm following in my mother's footsteps … My parents knew who was a member of the Communist Party and who was underground...”||”|
While still a child, her parents sent Davis to New York, where she lived with Herbert Aptheker, the Communist Party’s chief theoretician (and a child molester), and his family. In New York, Davis studied at the Little Red Schoolhouse (LRS), notorious for its Communist faculty and student body, including future Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin, then at Elisabeth Irwin High School, an adjunct of LRS.
In 1961, she won a scholarship to Brandeis University, where she would become a student to Herbert Marcuse. In 1968 Davis joined the Communist Party, even as Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague spring.”
In 1970, Marin County, California Judge Harold Haley’s head was blown off by a sawed-off shotgun owned by Ms. Davis, in a hostage incident in which members of the Black Panthers attempted to free Davis' lover, Black Panther member George Jackson, who was imprisoned for armed robbery. Davis was acquitted.
In 1979 Davis was awarded the International Lenin Peace Prize (formerly named the International Stalin Peace Prize) by the Communist government of East Germany. Davis ran for Vice President of the United States in 1980 and 1984, alongside Gus Hall, on the Communist Party ticket.
- PBS Frontline interview
- Faculty bio at UC Santa Cruz
- Angela Davis, interviewed by Julian Bond, Explorations in Black Leadership (University of Virginia). Cf. Phyllis Leffler, Black Leaders on Leadership: Conversations with Julian Bond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) ISBN 113734251X, pp. 191-192
- Bettina Aptheker, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel (Seal Press, 2011) ISBN 1580054404
- Germany and the Americas: O-Z
- Marxism, Revolution and Utopia: Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume Six, Volume 6
- African Americans and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia