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Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American political activist and author. She was a leader of the Communist Party in the United States but is no longer a member. She has done research in the areas of feminism and critical theory.
In 1967 she joined the Black Panther Party.
In 1969 she was fired from her job at UCLA for being a member of the Communist Party.
In 1970 she was put in prison by FBI agents for the first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Judge Harold Haley. In 1971 she appeared at the Marin County Superior Court and said, "I now declare publicly before the court, before the people of this country that I am innocent of all charges which have been leveled against me by the state of California." She was released from jail in 1972. Ronald Reagan said that she should never be allowed to teach at a California university. The English rock band The Rolling Stones recorded a song called "Sweet Black Angel" that was on their 1972 album Exile on Main Street and dedicated to Davis.
She gave a speech in 1997 called "The Prison Industrial Complex". In it she said 'prisons are becoming an integral part of the US economy. She said that the fear of young people of color was being exploited to create a fast-growing industry, the prison industrial complex (PIC). She created a group called Critical Resistance in the same year. They are against prisons. Davis is a prison abolitionist. She does not want to make prisons better. She wants there to be no prisons or police. More recently she has argued that the US prison system is more like a new form of slavery than a criminal justice system.
Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
She is married to Hilton Braithwaite.