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Angela Davis: Philosopher, Radical Activist, Teacher

Angela Davis is known as a radical activist, philosopher, writer, speaker, and educator. She was well known for a time through her association with the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s. She was fired from one teaching job for being a Communist, and she appeared on the Federal Bureau of Investigations Ten Most Wanted List for a time.

 Angela Yvonne Davis was born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama.

 Her father B. Frank Davis was a teacher who opened a gas station, and her mother, Sallye E. Davis, was a teacher.  She lived in a segregated neighborhood and went to segregated schools through high school.  She became involved with her family in civil rights demonstrations.  She spent some time in New York City where her mother was earning a masters degree during summer breaks from teaching.

She excelled as a student, graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in 1965, with two years of study at the Sorbonne, University of Paris. She studied philosophy in Germany at the University of Frankfort for two years, then received an M.A. from the University of California at San Diego in 1968. Her doctoral study was from 1968 to 1969.

During her undergraduate years at Brandeis, she was shocked to hear of the bombing of a Birmingham church, killing four girls she had known.

A member of the Communist Party, USA, at the time, she became involved in radical black politics and in several organizations for black women, including helping to found Sisters Inside and Critical Resistance.

She also joined the Black Panthers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was part of an all-black Communist group called the Che-Lumumba Club, and through that group began to organize public protests.

In 1969, Davis was hired to a position at the University of California at Los Angeles, an assistant professorship.

She taught Kant, Marxism, and philosophy in black literature. She was popular as a a teacher, but a leak identifying her as a member of the Communist Party led to the UCLA regent --