I remember giving a presentation on Angela Davis during Undergrad. I propped my copy of her Autobiography on the table and began speaking. I remember folks looking at me strangely. I’m convinced they were asking themselves, “Is she ok?”. I abandoned my well-organized notecards and basically went on a rant about how great Angela Davis is based on the research I came across. I never got a chance to read the book. The information I came across was solely from the internet...Give me some credit; I was taking more classes than the average college student. I needed to get this presentation done fast.
Although that presentation was a hot mess, I discovered a lot of new information. For me, the most important takeaway was learning the meaning of womanism. Womanism unite women of color with the feminist movement. With that definition in mind, I’ll get to the review of Angela Davis: An Autobiography.
Surprisingly, I initially did not get womanism or feminist vibes from her Autobiography. I walked away, feeling more connecting to Angela Davis, the person versus the revolutionist. Every account mentioned goes back to the idea of being a decent human being and not a racist prick. I was expecting a very militant tone, but I did not get that in her autobiography. I felt her compassion and desire to prevail as humans. As she was fighting for her life, she saved others in return. She recognized at a young age that racism is used to perpetuate ideologies and maintain the elite position in society. She spoke on historical trauma, before the term was coined in the academic world.
The autobiography was originally published in 1974 and written when Davis was 25. She begins by stating she did not want to write the kind of autobiography expected of you when you reach a certain caliber in society. I found that most interesting and relatable. I, too, plan on writing an autobiography, but I don’t plan on writing it at the age in which society considers appropriate. I hope to have my memoir out soon.
I could not read this book in one session. I attended to it here and there. If you are a cognizant and empathic person like myself, I wouldn’t recommend reading this before any social activity. The language used is persuasive and potent. At times, I could not leave the anger and frustration I have towards racism, bigotry, and all of the other messed up crap in society with the book. I noticed myself searching for humanity after reading a chapter or two.
I am fortunate enough to have a physical copy of the book; I received it from a family friend a long time ago. The book can be purchased on Amazon and other sites. It has also been digitized and can be accessed for free on InternetArchive if you have an account.
Before signing off, I must admit that I did contemplate attending the University of California to take her classes. Since the University did not offer a major that would allow me to have Angela Davis as my professor for the entirety of my schooling, I opted out. Angela Davis: An Autobiography is a must-read; it’s more than what you’ve assumed, or came across on the internet for a college presentation.
“I am proud to be a Black Woman.”