Angela Davis Quotes

Angela Davis (1944- )

Angela Davis, 1969
Angela Davis, 1969. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Angela Davis, a professor of philosophy, is often associated with the Black Panthers and with the black power politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as with feminism.

Selected Angela Davis Quotations

• Radical simply means "grasping things at the root."

• To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.

• Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.

• We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.

• Media mystifications should not obfuscate a simple, perceivable fact; Black teenage girls do not create poverty by having babies. Quite the contrary, they have babies at such a young age precisely because they are poor -- because they do not have the opportunity to acquire an education, because meaningful, well-paying jobs and creative forms of recreation are not accessible to them... because safe, effective forms of contraception are not available to them.

• Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary's life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.

• The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that position be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one's contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time.

• There is often as much heterogeneity within a black community, or more heterogeneity, than in cross-racial communities. An African-American woman might find it much easier to work together with a Chicana than with another black woman whose politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality would place her in an entirely different community.

What is problematic is the degree to which nationalism has become a paradigm for our community-building processes. We need to move away form such arguments as "Well, she's not really black." "She comes from such-and-such a place." "Her hair is..." "She doesn't listen to 'our' music," and so forth. What counts as black is not so important as our political commitment to engage in anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-homophobic work.

• Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo - obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.

• Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America. Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.

• No march, movement, or agenda that defines manhood in the narrowest terms and seeks to make women lesser partners in this quest for equality can be considered a positive step.

• Given the racist and patriarchal patterns of the state, it is difficult to envision the state as the holder of solutions to the problem of violence against women of color. However, as the anti-violence movement has been institutionalized and professionalized, the state plays an increasingly dominant role in how we conceptualize and create strategies to minimize violence against women.

• The early feminist argument that violence against women is not inherently a private matter, but has been privatized by the sexist structures of the state, the economy, and the family has had a powerful impact on public consciousness.

• Invisible, repetitive, exhausting, unproductive, uncreative -- these are the adjectives which most perfectly capture the nature of housework.

• I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively.

• Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. Related Resources for Angela Davis

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    About These Quotes

    Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis.  I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

    Citation information:
    Jone Johnson Lewis. "Angela Davis Quotes." About Women's History. URL: . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)