Angela Davis is a distinguished American activist, author and academic. She has contributed enormously in boosting the social and political conditions of black in the United States. In 1960s as a leader of the ‘Communist Party USA’, she made her mark as a radical and counter-culture activist. She also shared a good rapport with ‘Black Panther Party’ due to her involvement in the ‘Civil Rights Movement’. She also served as a professor at the ‘University of California’ and also as a former director in the ‘Feminists Studies Department’ of the same university. Her thoughts, opinions, views, speeches and research interests include critical theory, feminism, social consciousness, Marxism, African-American studies, popular music and the history and philosophy of prisons and punishments. Read through the thoughts and views by the radical philosopher that are sure to inspire you. Let us browse through the quotes and sayings by Angela Davis.
I’m a feminist so I believe in inhabiting contradictions. I believe in making contradictions productive, not in having to choose one side or the other side. As opposed to choosing either or, choosing both.
In a sense the quest for the emancipation of black people in the U.S. has always been a quest for economic liberation which means to a certain extent that the rise of black middle class would be inevitable.
You can never stop and as older people, we have to learn how to take leadership from the youth and I guess I would say that this is what I'm attempting to do right now.
The campaign against the death penalty has been - while a powerful campaign, its participants have been those who attend all of the vigils, a relatively small number of people.
I'm involved in the work around prison rights in general.
Well, we see an increasingly weaker labor movement as a result of the overall assault on the labor movement and as a result of the globalization of capital.
Now, if we look at the way in which the labor movement itself has evolved over the last couple of decades, we see increasing numbers of black people who are in the leadership of the labor movement and this is true today.
But at the same time you can't assume that making a difference 20 years ago is going to allow you to sort of live on the laurels of those victories for the rest of your life.
Well of course there's been a great deal of progress over the last 40 years. We don't have laws that segregate black people within the society any longer.
As soon as my trial was over, we tried to use the energy that had developed around my case to create another organization, which we called the National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression.
I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers.
My name became known because I was, one might say accidentally the target of state repression and because so many people throughout the country and other parts of the world organized around the demand for my freedom.
Radical simply means 'grasping things at the root.'
I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.
We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.
As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people's struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism.
Yes, I think it's really important to acknowledge that Dr. King, precisely at the moment of his assassination, was re-conceptualizing the civil rights movement and moving toward a sort of coalitional relationship with the trade union movement.
The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that position be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one's contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time.
I grew up in the southern United States in a city which at that time during the late '40's and early '50's was the most segregated city in the country, and in a sense learning how to oppose the status quo was a question of survival.
And I guess what I would say is that we can't think narrowly about movements for black liberation and we can't necessarily see this class division as simply a product or a certain strategy that black movements have developed for liberation.
Well I teach in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. So that's my primary work. I lecture on various campuses and in various communities across the country and other parts of the world.
That's true but I think the contemporary problem that we are facing increasing numbers of black people and other people of color being thrown into a status that involves work in alternative economies and increasing numbers of people who are incarcerated.
Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society.
Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialities, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.
When someone asks me about violence, I just find it incredible, because what it means is that the person who’s asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through, what black people have experienced in this country, since the time the first black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.
Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.
There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan. There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.
I believe profoundly in the possibilities of democracy, but democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism. As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us.
The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underly the commodities that we use on a daily basis. And so food is like that.
My idea of philosophy is that if it is not relevant to human problems, if it does not tell us how we can go about eradicating some of the misery in this world, then it is not worth the name of philosophy. I think Socrates made a very profound statement when he asserted that the raison d'etre of philosophy is to teach us proper living. In this day and age 'proper living' means liberation from the urgent problems of poverty, economic necessity and indoctrination, mental oppression.