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Angela Davis (1944-)

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Political activist Angela Davis speaks at a street rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, July 4, 1974.

Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and educated in New York, Boston, Paris and Frankfurt. When she was hired by the UCLA philosophy department, the university's Board of Regents, including Governor Ronald Reagan, had her fired for membership in the Communist Party. Although she eventually got her job back, the publicity brought her to the attention of the Soledad Brothers, three African American prisoners accused of murdering a white guard at California's Soledad Prison. Davis was working on the Soledad Brothers case on August 7, 1970 when a brother of one of the prisoners assaulted a courthouse; four men died in a shootout. Davis became a fugitive, sought for supplying weapons for the courthouse attack. In the meantime, George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers, was shot and killed in prison. His death became one of the events that precipitated the riots at Attica.

Davis was eventually tried and acquitted. She continues to teach, speak publicly, and work on prison reform.

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