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Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Y.…

Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974)

by Angela Y. Davis

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I was nearing the end of Brown Girl Dreaming as I got to work this morning, with Jacqueline Woodson talking about Angela Davis and me thinking how I'd like to learn more about her—then I got to my desk, pulled up Goodreads, and saw her autobiography recommended for me because I am also reading In the Frame, by Helen Mirren. Not the connection I would have expected, but anyway, I think it is fate.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
I love this book! Angela Davis has such a strong voice. It was a real treat to be able to get a closer look at her life, her ideas and the work she has done. Reading this book sparked my interest in autobiographies and got me reading more books by and about women I admire. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in civil rights, radical history, criticisms of the prison industrial complex, anti-racism, prison-abolition, communism and stories of resistance. The story of her activism is very relevant to today's climate, and her analysis has had a great influence on the Black Lives Matter movement. A truly inspiring read!! ( )
1 vote maritamw | Sep 29, 2015 |
  OberlinSWAP | Jul 20, 2015 |
This book reveals the person behind the icon. Angela Davis, friend and schoolmate of the four little girls killed in the horrible Birmingham firebombing. Academic above all else until she joined in the liberation struggle. Proud communist until she broke with the group when the Soviet military attempted an overthrow of Gorbachev. Fugitive. Professor whom Ronald Reagan attempted to silence and dismiss. Ally of the Black Panther Party. Comrade of Jonathan and George Jackson. Cane cutter in Cuba.

The book cover shows a woman who dares not look directly at the camera. Based on what she reveals in the book, Davis was a most private person whose entire persona was challenged and opened up by the 16 months she spent in jail, in the old Womens House of Detention in NYC and in California. The inhumanely miserable conditions and the support of the women jailed with her, even some of the guards, seems to have made her into a different woman, one who could engage directly rather than from the heights of academia and Marxist rhetoric.

An inspiring story and a solid view behind the curtains. ( )
1 vote froxgirl | Oct 20, 2014 |
"...render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night." -James Baldwin, An Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis

On the FBI's most wanted list at only 26yrs old. A life so eventful she could write an utterly suspenseful autobiography at 28yrs old.

Angela Y. Davis.

When I started reading this autobiography I had to stop a moment and think about the ages Davis was when all these events were taking place. This autobiography was sobering to say the least. Currently at ages 23-26, most women have extremely superficial or vanity laden thoughts. At the same age Angela Davis was making history. She was one of the leaders and very few women of a national movement to liberate Black and Brown people alike.

"...love has been ordained by God. White people's hatred of us was neither natural nor eternal."

In Birmingham, AL, Davis grew up in the middle of the civil Rights Movement and constant bombings in her neighborhood. When Davis speaks about her parents and siblings, especially her mother, there is a certain tenderness and love that leaps off the page. Despite all she faced she stated she wanted it all to be over more so for her mom than herself. Her sister Fania was relentless in her devotion. There were numerous loyal friends from various political factions. Throughout this book you get the feel that Angela Davis was born for the fight she was in. She had a certain resilience and calm that most people, man or woman, would break into pieces under. She was totally devoted to the revolution. During her stay in the NY House of Detention, Davis really began to develop where her life work would be. There is where she saw addicts as young as fourteen, deplorable living conditions, and guards who she described as prisoners themselves. Davis spent a lot of her time in jail observing the system instead of allowing it to defeat her. She was determined to help her fellow sisters and brothers that were living in subhuman conditions and being denied even some of the most basic necessities. While in prison, she seemed detached from her own plight thinking on how she could assist or gain assistance for others.

"I decided then and there that if I was ever free, I would use my life to uphold the cause of my sisters and brothers behind walls."

Davis stated that she hated being the center of excessive attention and never aspired to be a "public revolutionary." She had to get use to it quick. Right now in 2012 she is still larger than life. The most moving sections of this autobiography for me was the times Davis spent in prison and her love for George Jackson. In prison she described the horrors of and shed a blinding light on the injustices within the penal system. The isolation that was imposed on her was designed to destroy her. It is was simply mind blowing. The only time Davis gave a glimpse into her personal life was when it came to George Jackson. She still remained very discreet. You get the feel that Davis is very guarded in this area which is understandable. The love between them was so strong when she when did describe it she could not have left it out of her story if she wanted to. When Davis received the news that George was killed in San Quentin it was heartbreaking. She decribed it as "the loss of an irretrievable love." This was a man she only saw in chains. Their love blossomed out of words and a love for the people. This devastating loss seemed to have pushed her on to victory. ( )
1 vote pinkcrayon99 | Oct 10, 2012 |
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The political activist reflects upon the people and incidents that have influenced her life and commitment to global liberation of the oppressed.

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