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(Aka Angela Y. Davis,
Angela Yvonne Davis)
[January 26, 1944 - ]
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Profile created May 22, 2008
Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire (2005)
Revelations about US policies and practices of
torture and abuse have captured headlines ever since the breaking of the
Abu Ghraib prison story in April 2004. Since then, a debate has raged
regarding what is and what is not acceptable behavior for the world's
leading democracy. It is within this context that African American
intellectual Angela Davis gave a series of interviews to discuss
resistance and law, institutional sexual coercion, politics, and prison.
Davis talks about her own incarceration, her experiences as an "enemy of
the state," and about having been put on the FBI's most wanted list. She
talks about the crucial role that international activism played in her
case and the cases of many other political prisoners.
Throughout these interviews, Angela Davis returns to her critique of a
democracy that has been compromised by its racist origins and
institutions. Discussing the most recent disclosures about the disavowed
"chain of command" and the formal reports by the Red Cross and Human
Rights Watch denouncing US violation of human rights and the laws of war
in Guantnamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Davis focuses on the underpinnings of
prison regimes in the United States.
Amid rising public concern about the proliferation
and privitization of prisons, and their promise of enormous profits,
world-renowned author and activist Angela Y. Davis argues for the
abolition of the prison system as the dominant way of responding to
America’s social ills. “In thinking about the possible obsolescence of the
prison,” Davis writes, “we should ask how it is that so many people could
end up in prison without major debates regarding the efficacy of
incarceration.” Whereas Reagan-era politicians with “tough on crime”
stances argued that imprisonment and longer sentences would keep
communities free of crime, history has shown that the practice of mass
incarceration during that period has had little or no effect on official
crime rates: in fact, larger prison populations led not to safer
communities but to even larger prison populations. As we make our way into
the twenty-first century—two hundred years after the invention of the
penitentiary —the question of prison abolition has acquired an
unprecedented urgency. Backed by growing numbers of prisons and prisoners,
Davis analyzes these institutions in the U.S., arguing that the very
future of democracy depends on our ability to develop radical theories and
practices that make it possible to plan and fight for a world beyond the
prison industrial complex.
Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)
"The female blues singers of the 1920s, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, and Bessie
Smith, not only invented a musical genre, but they also became models of
how African American women could become economically independent in a
culture that had not previously allowed it. Both Smith and Rainey
composed, arranged, and managed their own road bands. Angela Y. Davis's
study emphasizes the impact that these singers, and later Billie Holiday,
had on the poor and working-class communities from which they came. The
artists addressed radical subjects such as physical and economic abuse,
race relations, and female sexual power, including lesbianism. Ma Rainey
was well known as a lover of women as well as men, and her song "Prove It
on Me" describes a butch woman who dresses like a man and dates women.
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism places the fluid sexuality of these
women within a larger context of African American artists' attempts to
subvert and recreate America."
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1999)
A collection of her speeches and writings which address the political and
social changes of the past decade as they are concerned with the struggle
for racial, sexual, and economic equality.
Women, Culture & Politics (1989)
Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism (1985)
A powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S.
from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always
been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.
Women, Race, & Class (1981)
Frame Up: The Opening Defense Statement Made by Angela Y. Davis, March 29, 1972
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971)
Visions Of Peace And Justice: San Francisco Bay Area: 1974-2007. Over 30 Years Of Political Posters From The
Archives Of Inkworks Press (2007), Lincoln Cushing, ed.
Visions of Peace & Justice contains over 400 full color
reproductions of political posters from the archives of Inkworks Press.
Inkworks has accumulated a comprehensive and fascinating archive of
beautiful political posters that have been printed on its presses, which
are compiled for the first time in this important historical document.
Whether it's the American Indian Movement, Latin American Solidarity
campaigns, Women's Liberation, community-based struggles against
environmental racism, the current efforts to end the war in Iraq, or a
broad range of other post-1960s US social movements, Visions of Peace &
Justice records it all through the timeless powerful art of the poster.
Thirteen of black America's most eloquent and accomplished voices share
their visions for a self-sufficient, self-determined future. Black Genius
is both an extraordinary forum of distinguished individuals who have
demonstrated intelligence, courage, and the ability to communicate, and a
project for sharing among people interested in the future of people of
African American descent. Originally a series of community conversations
where "visionaries with solutions" explored the role of black people in
shaping cultural consciousness, conceived by Walter Mosley and sponsored
by the New York University Africana Studies Program, the book of Black
Genius reprints these lectures and many responses to questions. The
speakers focus on such issues as economics, political power, work,
authority, and culture, offering not only broad perspectives but concrete,
achievable solutions. It is an exceptional, unique colloquy of voices, one
that points the way to enriching black life in the twenty-first century.
The speakers: Angela Davis, Anna Deveare
bell hooks, Farai Chideya,
George Curry, Haki Madhubuti, Jocelyn Elders, M.D., Julianne Malveaux,
Melvin van Peebles, Randall Robinson, Spike Lee, Stanley Crouch, and
Black Genius: African American Solutions to African American Problems
(1999), Clyde Taylor, Manthia Diawara, Regina Austin, and
Walter Mosley, eds.
The House That Race Built (1998),
Wahneema Lubiano, ed.
Original essays by
Angela Y. Davis,
Toni Morrison, and others
on black Americans and politics in America today.
Angela Davis Traitor or Martyr of the Freedom of
Expression? (1972) by Blythe F. Finke
The People vs. Angela Davis
(1972) by Charles R Ashman
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