Black History Month starts Feb. 1 and we want to use this time to recognize famous African-American activists, writers, and entertainers. The first person to start off this Black History Month is activist, scholar, and author Angela Davis. Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama on Jan. 26, 1944. Growing up in racially segregated Alabama, Davis had to live in constant fear of bombings from the Ku Klux Klan in her neighborhood. She was even close to some of the victims in the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four young girls and injured many others.
In 1961, Davis enrolled in Brandeis University, located in Massachusetts, where she earned her B.A. She then went on to study at University of California at San Diego where she received her M.A. in 1968. Meanwhile, Angela joined a series of organizations like the Black Panthers, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and an all black faction of the American Communist party. In Los Angeles, Davis worked as an assistant professor at University of California at Los Angeles, but was dismissed due to her Communist ties.
In August of 1970, Angela Davis was arrested for aiding in the help in the killing of a prison guard by the Soledad Brothers, who Angela was big supporter of. The police had found the guns that killed the guard registered in her name, thus being the cause for her arrest. She was acquitted of all charges in 1972. Afterwards, Davis spent her time traveling and lecturing people on the issues of race, the criminal justice system, and women’s rights. She also has written books like “Women, Race, and Class,” “Blues Legacies and Black Feminism” and “Are Prisons Obsolete.”
Today, Angela continues to lecture at many universities and was a speaker and made honorary co-chair at the Women’s March on Washington in 2017.