Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and thoughts by Angela Davis on women, feminism, race, caste, prisons, racism, society, capitalism, denial, slavery, hope, author and prisons.

61 Insightful Quotes By Angela Davis For The Zealots

Quick Facts

Famous As: Political Activist

Born On: January 26, 1944

Born In: Birmingham

Founder / Co Founder: Critical Resistance

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.

Angela Davis

It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals

Angela Davis

Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionarys life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.

Angela Davis

The process of empowerment cannot be simplistically defined in accordance with our own particular class interests. We must learn to lift as we climb.

Angela Davis

If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.

Angela Davis

We are never assured of justice without a fight.

Angela Davis

I have a hard time accepting diversity as a synonym for justice. Diversity is a corporate strategy.

Angela Davis

The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what's that? The freedom to starve?

Angela Davis

We must always attempt to lift as we climb

Angela Davis

Justice is indivisible. You can't decide who gets civil rights and who doesn't.

Angela Davis

When children attend schools that place a greater value on discipline and security than on knowledge and intellectual development, they are attending prep schools for prison.

Angela Davis

Walls turned sideways are bridges.

Angela Davis

We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia.

Angela Davis

I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept.

Angela Davis

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

First of all, I didn't suggest that we should simply get rid of all prisons.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

I'm involved in the work around prison rights in general.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers.

Angela Davis

Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do.

Angela Davis

I'm suggesting that we abolish the social function of prisons.

Angela Davis

What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the black middle class and the increasing numbers of black people who are more impoverished than ever before.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

It's true that it's within the realm of cultural politics that young people tend to work through political issues, which I think is good, although it's not going to solve the problems.

Angela Davis

I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively.

Angela Davis

Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.

Angela Davis

When Bush says democracy, I often wonder what he's referring to.

Angela Davis

To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.

Angela Davis

Well for one, the 13th amendment to the constitution of the US which abolished slavery - did not abolish slavery for those convicted of a crime.

Angela Davis

I think that has to do with my awareness that in a sense we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.

Angela Davis

Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America. Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.

Angela Davis

We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.

Angela Davis

Poor people, people of color - especially are much more likely to be found in prison than in institutions of higher education.

Angela Davis

Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo - obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.

Angela Davis

What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.

Angela Davis

Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it's perhaps far more terrible than it's ever been.

Angela Davis

Radical simply means 'grasping things at the root.'

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis

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.

Angela Davis