Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years she has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. She is a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era.
Professor Davis' political activism began when she was a youngster in Birmingham, Alabama, and continued through her high school years in New York. But it was not until 1969 that she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA. In 1970 she was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on false charges, and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground and culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history. During her sixteen-month incarceration, a massive international "Free Angela Davis" campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.
Prof. Davis' long-standing commitment to prisoners' rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led to her own arrest and imprisonment. Today, she remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center, and currently is working on a comparative study of women's imprisonment in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Cuba. In 1997, Prof. Davis helped found Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), a concept she developed.
During the last twenty-five years, Prof. Davis has lectured in all of the fifty United States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of five books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race & Class; and the recently published Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. The Angela Y. Davis Reader, a collection of Prof. Davis' writings that spans nearly three decades, was published in 1998.
Former California Governor Ronald Reagan once vowed that Angela Davis would never again teach in the University of California system. From 1994 to 1997, she held the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies. Today, she is a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.