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"Moreover, popular narratives about the end of [legally sanctioned black, U.S slavery] erase[s] the agency of black people themselves.

And, I suppose we can say that if Lincoln did not really free the slaves, he was shrewd enough to recognize that the only hope of winning the civil war resided in pre-aiding the opportunity for black people to fight for their own freedom.”

Angela Y. Davis, Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies (UCLA-Santa Cruz): 150 Years Later, Abolition in the 21st Century [March 27, 2013]

Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society.
— 

- Angela Davis, activist, author, educator

Happy 70th birthday to one of my favourite sheroes ever! 

Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages
—  Angela Davis
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Salute to the Mothers of our conscious struggle who sacrificed much, so that we could have a tomorrow and to all the courageous Sisters who just weren’t having any of it…

1.   Angela Davis
2.   Assata Shakur
3.   Kathleen Cleaver
4.   Sojourner Truth
5.   Harriet Tubman
6.   Rosa Parks
7.   Fannie Lou Hamer
8.   Shirley Chisolm 
9.   Sis. Minister Ava Muhammad
10. Two Sisters who weren’t having it!

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Interviewer: But the question is more, how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation, violence?

Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking? Yeah see, that’s another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life and walk out on the street everyday seeing white policemen surrounding you… when I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was. But I was a black women and I had a natural and they, I suppose thought I might be “militant.”

And when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, you know, whether I approve of violence. I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether I approve of guns.

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs, bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street. Our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that, at any moment, we might expect to be attacked. The man who was, at that time, in complete control of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, “Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood. We better expect some bloodshed tonight.” And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived, one of them lived next door to me…I was very good friends with the sister of another one. My sister was very good friends with all three of them. My mother taught one of them in her class. My mother—in fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, “Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.” And they went down and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then, after that, in my neighborhood, all the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again.

Angela Davis on violence and revolution (1972)

What is happening in Ferguson - and the solidarity people from Palestine are expressing - is exactly what Angela Davis has been talking about. The internationalization of these oppressive structures. The prison industrial complex does not exist in a vacuum. Police brutality doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Apartheid doesn’t exist in a vacuum. These oppressive structures are interconnected.

This is why whenever I’ve seen her speak on the PIC or on feminism and abolition, she’s always connected it to Palestine. Global connections. When she was imprisoned in the 70s, in solitary confinement in an American prison, a Palestinian political prisoner in an Israeli jail sent her a message of solidarity - it was smuggled out of that Israeli cell an into Davis’ cell. Do we not see parallels of that today in those tweets sharing tips on how to deal with police brutality?

The struggles are distinct. Specific to specific communities. But the structures are interconnected. What does it say for American police to be trained by and often armed by the IDF; what does it say for weapons to be tested on Palestinians and then sold to the rest of the world; what does it say for military and prisons to both be privatized to this extent; what does it say for neoliberal institutions like the IMF and the world bank to be supporting private prisons as replacements of state functions in developing countries? We have to have attention to detail and we have to also be able to look at this in a larger framework.

In the United States and other capitalist countries, rape laws as a rule were framed originally for the protection of men of the upper classes, whose daughters and wives might be assaulted. What happens to working-class women has usually been of little concern to the courts; as a result, remarkably few white men have been prosecuted for the sexual violence they have inflicted on these women. While the rapists have seldom been brought to justice, the rape charge has been indiscriminately aimed at Black men, the guilty and innocent alike. Thus, of the 455 men executed on the basis of rape convictions, 405 of them were Black.
—  Rape, Racism, and the Myth of the Black Rapist by Angela Y. Davis
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