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Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, academic, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s working with the Communist Party USA, of which she was a member until 1991, and was briefly involved in the Black Panther Party during the Civil Rights Movement.
After allegedly purchasing firearms used in the 1970 armed takeover of a Marin County, California courtroom, in which four people were killed, she was prosecuted for conspiracy. She was later acquitted of this charge.
Davis is a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in its History of Consciousness Department. She is also a former director of the university’s Feminist Studies department. Her research interests are feminism, African-American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. She co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison–industrial complex.
Davis’s membership in the CPUSA led California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969 to attempt to have her barred from teaching at any California university. She supported the governments of the Soviet Bloc for several decades. During the 1980s, she was twice a candidate for Vice President on the CPUSA ticket. She left the party in 1991
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