Dreaming in French
March 25, 2012 9:26 AM   Subscribe

"But that period of education and adventure is always overshadowed by the dramas to come: Davis’s association with the Black Panthers; her dismissal from UCLA’s faculty in 1969 for being a member of the Communist Party; her appearance in 1970 on the FBI’s list of ten most wanted fugitives; her acquittal in the kidnapping and murder of a California judge; her research on the prison-industrial complex."

In my case, that is indeed true. I learned a lot from this article, which deals with Angela Davis's experiences as a college student in France, thanks for posting it.
posted by Roentgen at 10:42 AM on March 25, 2012

But that period of education and adventure is always overshadowed by the dramas to come

Also overshadowed by her being the subject of an (awesome) track off Exile on Main Street.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:32 AM on March 25, 2012

Wow, that was a really interesting article. I wasn't at all aware of Angela Davis' education in France.

When I first saw her name on the front page, was afraid this was going to be an obit thread, which started me wondering what she's up to these days. From wikipedia:

Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of "Critical Resistance", an organization working to abolish what she views as the prison-industrial complex. She is a retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is the former director of the university's Feminist Studies department. Her research interests are in feminism, African American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music and social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons.


As of 31 October 2011, Davis had spoken at the Philadelphia and Washington Square Occupy Wall Street assemblies where, due to restrictions on electronic amplification, her words were human microphoned.

Wonderful to see that she's still fighting the good fight.
posted by marsha56 at 12:10 PM on March 25, 2012

Angela Davis spoke Thursday evening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in front of an over-flow crowd, they speech is available online.

(Disclaimer: I manage the NURFC website)
posted by Mick at 12:24 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Mick at 12:24 PM on March 25, 2012

Thanks so much for this! I've been presenting a gallery outreach workshop project at the Juvenile Detention Center where I do a lot of teaching that incorporates an iconic image of Angela Davis as its starting point. One class has already completed the project ( an example of the kind of art produced during the class).

None of the teenagers recognized who she was or were familiar with her work in activism, so part of the presentation consisted of introducing the participants to her history as a political activist, the professional fallout of standing up for her beliefs, and most importantly her stance on the prison industrial complex and her commitment to prison reform. If my fellow teaching artist (who suggested we take a risk and introduce Davis as a theme) and I are allowed to continue with this specific project (so far there's been no fallout from the administration) we'll be able to incorporate some the amazing stories from the article (such as this one):

"Disguised as black foreigners, who didn’t threaten the social order, the Davis sisters had a temporary pass to participate in white society, at least in that particular shoe store. Class and exoticism trumped race."

from this article into our introductory presentation and group discussion.
posted by stagewhisper at 12:37 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found this about halfway down:

On September 16, 1963, Davis picked up a copy of the Herald Tribune. The newspaper was as much an American institution in France as the American Express office or the English-language bookstore Shakespeare & Co. Reading the Trib was a way of going home from abroad. What Davis read that day, in the front page headlines and the wire service story that followed, was branded on her consciousness forever. Four 14-year-old girls had died in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Of the four—Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins—Robertson was a close friend of Davis’s sister Fania, and Wesley lived in the house just behind the Davises’.

This is a fine article latkes thank you for posting it.
posted by bukvich at 1:18 PM on March 25, 2012

There's some great footage and an interview with Angela Davis in prison in the great Black Power Mixtape documentary that came out last year. I highly recommend it.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:33 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was hoping someone was going to mention the mixtape. Just watched it a few weeks ago on Netflix. Such a wonderful movie. She is a beautiful person and just watching her and the rest of the people involved in the struggle back in the day, is so moving. I think about the Trayvon Martin and all the shit in our society, still... How far we've come and how far we have yet to go.
posted by symbioid at 6:36 PM on March 25, 2012

Fascinating article. Thanks for posting this.
posted by homunculus at 10:13 PM on March 26, 2012

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