Harvard University Acquires the Papers of Angela Davis

The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute of Advance Study at Harvard University, has announced that is has acquired the archives of Angela Davis. Professor Davis, who taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz until 2008, has been a political activist for most of her life, advocating for the rights of African Americans, women, and prison inmates.

Davis grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Jim Crow era. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Brandeis University. She later earned a master’s degree at the University of California, San Diego and a Ph.D. at Humboldt in Germany.

Dr. Davis taught at the University of California, Los Angeles. Then California Governor Ronald Reagan tried to have her fired because she was a member of the Communist Party. In 1970, Davis was indicted for murder and placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, because guns she had purchased were used in an attempt to free the Soledad Brothers from a courtroom in Marin County, California. Four people were killed. Dr. Davis was acquitted by an all-White jury in 1972.

The archives include 150 boxes of papers, photographs, and pamphlets. The archives include a journal she kept during her trial and thousands of letters that were sent to the courthouse in support of Professor Davis during the court proceedings.

Also included in the archives are Professor Davis’ notes for her books and materials relating to her two campaigns for vice president of the United States on the Communist Party ticket.

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  1. I am very disappointed that Angela would give her papers to Harvard rather than to Howard University or an HBCU member institution. Much Harvard’s wealth today is directly attributable to the “Slave Trade and Angela is fully cognizant of
    this history.

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