Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American political activist and university professor who was associated with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Davis was also a notable activist during the Civil Rights Movement and a prominent member and political candidate of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Since leaving the CPUSA, she continues to identify herself as a democratic socialist and is currently a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
She first achieved nationwide notoriety when a weapon registered in her name was linked to the murder of Judge Harold Haley during an effort to free a black convict. The convict was being tried for the attempted retaliatory murder of a white prison guard who killed three unarmed black inmates. Davis fled underground and was the subject of an intense manhunt. She was eventually captured, arrested, tried, and acquitted in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history.
Davis is a graduate studies professor emeritus of history of consciousness at the University of California and presidential chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She retired in the spring of 2008 and now works for racial, gender equality, gay rights, and prison abolition. Davis is a public speaker, nationally and internationally, and the founder of the grassroots prison-industrial complex-abolition organization Critical Resistance.