African American Heritage

Angela Davis (January 26, 1944)


Angela Yvonne Davis is a prominent political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as the leader of Communist Party USA in the 1960s and had close ties to the Black Panther Party. Her interests include the abolishment of the prisons and the prison-industrial complex. She is currently retired from her professorship at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she taught in their History of Consciousness Department and is the former director of the Feminist Studies Department. 

Angela Davis is well known a notable arrest and trial in 1970. A 17-year old high school student, Jonathan Jackson, took over a Marin County courtroom where he armed the black defendants and took the judge, prosecutor, and three female jurors hostage. In the end of the whole ordeal, the judge, Jackson and the armed defendants were killed while the prosecutor and one of the jurors were injured. Davis was accused of purchasing the guns used in commission of the crimes so she was charged with “aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder”. 

Angela fled persecution. Four days after the initial warrant was issued, J. Edgar Hoover listed Angela Davis on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List. She was on the run for two months before being apprehended in New York City. Movements were created worldwide demanding her release. Angela Davis was tried and found not guilty by an all-white jury.

Record Group 59: Department of State

Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-1979 National Archives Identifier 654098

Selected Records

Electronic Telegrams, 1973 (NAID 654231

Electronic Telegrams, 1975 (NAID 1225392

Electronic Telegrams, 1977 (NAID 5665410

The electronic records in this series can be searched online via the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system. The telegrams on AAD include only unclassified, unrestricted files which have been determined to be of permanent historical value. Please search for 'Angela Davis'.

Record Group 65: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Classification 44 (Civil Rights) Case Files

Please use the Find function in your browser to search for 'Angela Davis'

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files

Please use the Find function in your browser to search for 'Angela Davis'

GRF-0023: Vice Presidential Papers (Ford)

John Marsh's Chronological Files, 1973-1974 National Archives Identifier 642080

Finding Aid: John Marsh Files

Selected Records

Defense - Frank Barnett Speech to the District of Columbia League of Republican WomenTranscription available online.

HICK: John R. Hickman Audio Collection

Sound Recordings of Historical Radio Broadcasts, World War II Government Documentaries, and Popular Radio Shows, 1906-1993 National Archives Identifier 1487762

Selected Records

Interview with Angela Davis (NAID 2842900)

Interview with Angela Davis from Prison(NAID 2843659)

MR: University of Washington Collection

Audio Recordings Forming the Milo Ryan Phonoarchive of Radio Newscasts Relating to World War II and Special Coverage of Other Historical Events, ca. 1931-ca. 1977 National Archives Identifier 113397

Selected Records

CBS News (NAID 117231)

RN-SMOF: White House Member Staff and Office Files

Patrick J. Buchanan's Files, 1/21/1969-12/31/1972 National Archives Identifier 3129179

Finding Aid: Patrick J. Buchanan

WJC-FL: Records of the First Lady's Office (Clinton)

Bobbie Greene's Files, 1997-1998 National Archives Identifier 7763273

Finding Aid: Records of Bobbie Greene

Selected Records

Angela Davis (NAID 26413763)