Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Angela Y. Davis

Angela Y. Davis was born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. She earned a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.A. from the University of California, San Diego. Davis became involved in activism as a student, eventually advocating for communism, prison reform and abolition, Black Power, and Black feminism, and against the Vietnam War, colonialism, imperialism, and the death penalty. She later also fought for queer rights, opposed the War on Terror, and supported the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel. In 1969, she became a professor at UCLA, but was fired shortly thereafter for her membership in the Communist Party USA. She was reinstated, but fired again in 1970 for inflammatory language in her political activism, including her work with the Black Panther Party. She was falsely accused and imprisoned in connection with the 1970 trial of the Soledad Brothers, who had taken hostages in a courtroom and killed judges and prisoners with guns purchased by Davis. She was eventually acquitted. She later served as a lecturer at the Claremont Colleges, Pomona College, San Francisco State University, the University of California Santa Cruz, Rutgers University, Syracuse University, Vassar College, and UCLA. She is the author of many books, including If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971) and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (2015). She came out as a lesbian in 1997 and lives with her partner, fellow activist and academic Gina Dent. To learn more about Davis, check out the exhibit LGBT African Americans (2014), by Kali Henderson and Dionn McDonald.