Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movementdespite never being an official member of the party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of “Critical Resistance“, an organization working to abolish 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, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan‘s request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was tried and acquitted of suspected involvement in the Soledad brothers‘ August 1970 abduction and murder of Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.