“Freedom to Angela Davis!”: Folklore about the “Black Panther” of Communism

January 26, 1946 was born the American human rights activist, activist of the communist movement, sociologist, teacher and writer Angela Davis. In the 1970s, it was a symbol of the prisoner rights movement. It was also associated with the Black Panthers movement (an African American left-wing organization that set out to promote the civil rights of the black population).

Folklore took a considerable part of his work to this famous human rights activist: slogans, posters, paintings, songs. And today we want to remember and show them to you, adding interesting historical references.

She grew up in the United States in the once-slave South. In school, she studied at the "excellent" and dreamed of becoming a teacher. In high school she joined the Marxist circle and became friends with the daughter of the famous Marxist historian Herbert Apteker, and already in her university years she met the neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who had a significant influence on Davis’s views.

«Herbert Marcuse taught me how to be a scientist, an activist, a researcher and a revolutionary“- recalled Davis.


"Save Angela Davis"

Having consolidated his left-wing views, Angela Davis moved to Europe in 1963: first to France, and then to Germany, where she actively participated in the activities of the Socialist Union of German Students.


“Hands off Angela Davis” - Third World Women's Alliance.

The author of the song “Freedom to Angela Davis!” - Garik Sukachev

While Davis was in Europe, in the United States the struggle for civil rights was gaining momentum. The peak of the confrontation came in April 1968, when the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King was killed. It was precisely because of the growing confrontation that Davis decided to return to America and continue his struggle there. Such repression of the American authorities only strengthened Angela Davis in her left-wing views and the correctness of ideas.


"Freedom for Angela Davis", "Save Angela Davis"

In the US, she began to engage in human rights activities, most of which took place in San Quentin prison. It was there that Davis met George Jackson, an activist of Black Panthers. Between them, the affair began, and on August 7, 1970, the court building, where the trial of Jackson was taking place, ran into his younger brother, armed with a pistol, and tried to free a relative. However, an attempt to free the defendant failed: the police began storming the building in order to free the hostages. In the special operation Jackson Jr. himself and one of his associates, as well as one of the judges, were killed. In addition, the police accidentally wounded the prosecutor, captured. The investigation found that the weapon in the hands of the murdered Jonathan Jackson belonged to Angela Davis, and, according to local laws, the owner of the weapon was considered an accomplice of the crime.


“Freedom Angela”, “Learn freedom”, “Angela - teacher”

In the USSR, the slogan "Freedom to Angela Davis!" Was widespread

Davis left California and hid from the police for two months before she was arrested in New York. Her arrest provoked a strong public reaction around the world. In the USSR, the slogan "Freedom to Angela Davis!" Was widely spread. The prisoners Angela Davis wrote letters to children from schools throughout the Soviet Union.


The litigation, which lasted one and a half years, ended in failure of the prosecution. After the acquittal, Davis went on a tour of the socialist countries.


Soviet citizens Davis was honored as "his man" abroad

Davis also became a frequent guest in the USSR. So, she came to the Union for the first time in 1972 and traveled to a number of Soviet cities, where she participated in lectures and meetings of local authorities, and already in 1980, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev personally met her. For Soviet citizens, Davis was especially revered as “her man” behind the iron curtain.

John Lennon dedicated to Angela Davis in 1972 the song “Angela” from the album “Some Time in New York City”.

In her honor the group The Rolling Stones wrote a single Sweet black angel.

Yannick Noah dedicated the song “Angela” to her

In Russia, the author of the song “Freedom to Angela Davis!” Became Garik Sukachev as part of the group “The Untouchables”.

In the film “Brother 2” the motto “Freedom to Angela Davis!” Says the hero Viktor Sukhorukov.

In the song of Vladimir Vysotsky there are lines:

Well, and then at a closed, in the country
Where, unfortunately, intrusive service,
I was delirious watching all the programs,
Everything stood up for Angela Davis ...

- Vladimir Vysotsky. The Victim of Television (1972)

In 1980, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev met with Davis personally.

After the American Communist Party supported the Emergency Committee, Davis broke with the Communists and, together with her former associates in the US Communist Party, founded the Correspondent Committees for Democracy and Socialism, continuing to define itself as a radical leftist and democratic socialist. Opposed homophobia and the death penalty. In an interview with Out magazine in 1997, Davis said she was a lesbian.

Today, Angela Davis is a professor of history of the development of reason and feminist research at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Watch the video: Angela Davis - "Freedom is a Constant Struggle" hosted by The University of New England (December 2019).

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