Sunday, December 11, 2005

Angela Davis: Feminist of the Day

Angela Davis
Educator, writer, organizer
"Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary's life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime."

About half a dozen years ago I picked up a book on Angela Davis at one of those wonderful $1 a book sales. I'd heard of her before, or else I wouldn't have bought the book, but I didn't know that much about her. The book I'd bought turned out to be a radical account of her life written in about 1970, but also rush to publication job. At the end of the book she was on the run from the FBI on some pretty serious charges, and I had no idea what happened next. I later read Woman, Race & Class, written in the 1980s so I knew that she got out of it OK, but to this day I've no idea how.

Angela Davis obviously committed herself to a life of struggle, her early work with SNCC, the panthers and the Soledad brothers was just the start. I'm a feminist historian and so 'Woman, Race & Class' was like crack to me. I do need to re-read it though.

What I find most fascinating about Angela Davis is her on-going membership of the Communist Party. I know a fair bit about the communist party of America before the late 1950s, just because so many people were, or had been members. But I've no idea what it became in the 1960s. Did they continue having crazy line changes? Were they still Moscow directed? How could anyone in the early 1970s believe that Moscow was the way to go? (although come to think of it people believed a lot sillier things in the early 1970s)

I really should read her autobiography, it'd answer some of these questions.

Conclusion: Of course she's a feminist. A feminist, an activist, and a author well worth reading.

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