Angela Davis quotes

  • I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Giving #Historical

  • There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan. There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Ku Klux Klan #Justice #Police

  • 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.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Zoos #Jail #Population

  • When someone asks me about violence, I just find it incredible, because what it means is that the person who’s asking that question has absolutely no idea what black people have gone through, what black people have experienced in this country, since the time the first black person was kidnapped from the shores of Africa.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #Mean #Ideas

  • I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Accepting

  • There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Justice #Racist #Violence

  • You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.
    -- Angela Davis

    #World

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

    #Inspiring #African American #Mind

  • What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #Humor #Political

  • Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings…
    -- Angela Davis

    #Problem #Prison #Disappear

  • I believe profoundly in the possibilities of democracy, but democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism. As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Believe #Long #Democracy

  • As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people's struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Struggle #Fighting #People

  • The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what's that? The freedom to starve?
    -- Angela Davis

    #Mean #Ideas #Political

  • I’m a feminist so I believe in inhabiting contradictions. I believe in making contradictions productive, not in having to choose one side or the other side. As opposed to choosing either or, choosing both.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Believe #Feminist #Sides

  • Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionarys life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Struggle #Revolution #Serious

  • Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it's perhaps far more terrible than it's ever been.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Time #Racism #Kind

  • The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underly the commodities that we use on a daily basis. And so food is like that.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #Thinking #Mind

  • Justice is indivisible. You can't decide who gets civil rights and who doesn't.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Rights #Justice #Civil Rights

  • 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

    #Views #Addiction #Drug

  • If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Morning #Night

  • 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.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Agendas #Movement #Quests

  • 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.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Racism #Black #Racist

  • Racism cannot be separated from capitalism.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Racism #Justice #Social Justice

  • Imprisonment has become the response of first resort to far too many of our social problems.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Firsts #Problem #Social

  • When children attend schools that place a greater value on discipline and security than on knowledge and intellectual development, they are attending prep schools for prison.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Children #School #Discipline

  • Walls turned sideways are bridges.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Leadership #Wall #Bridges

  • It is important not only to have the awareness and to feel impelled to become involved, it's important that there be a forum out there to which one can relate, an organization- a movement.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Organization #Important #Movement

  • I think the lack of critical engagement with the food that we eat demonstrates the extent to which the commodity form has become the primary way in which we perceive the world,
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Engagement #World

  • We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Forgetfulness #Amnesia

  • Poor people, people of color - especially are much more likely to be found in prison than in institutions of higher education.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Color #People #Prison

  • Well, we see an increasingly weaker labor movement as a result of the overall assault on the labor movement and as a result of the globalization of capital.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Movement #Globalization #Results

  • 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.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Taken #Issues #Political

  • What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the black middle class and the increasing numbers of black people who are more impoverished than ever before.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Class #Numbers

  • We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Freedom

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

    #Philosophy #Thinking #Study

  • We have inherited a fear of memories of slavery. It is as if to remember and acknowledge slavery would amount to our being consumed by it. As a matter of fact, in the popular black imagination, it is easier for us to construct ourselves as children of Africa, as the sons and daughters of kings and queens, and thereby ignore the Middle Passage and centuries of enforced servitude in the Americas. Although some of us might indeed be the descendants of African royalty, most of us are probably descendants of their subjects, the daughters and sons of African peasants or workers.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Daughter #Kings #Queens

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

    #Men #Function

  • Radical simply means 'grasping things at the root.'
    -- Angela Davis

    #Mean #Roots #Grasping

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

    #Adjectives #Invisible #Capture

  • in this society, dominated as it is by the profit-seeking ventures of monopoly corporations, health has been callously transformed into a commodity - a commodity that those with means are able to afford, but that is too often entirely beyond the reach of others.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Health #Mean #Venture

  • We are never assured of justice without a fight.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Fighting #Justice

  • The process of empowerment cannot be simplistically defined in accordance with our own particular class interests. We must learn to lift as we climb.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Class #Empowerment #Process

  • we have accumulated a wealth of historical experience which confirms our belief that the scales of American justice are out of balance.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Justice #Historical #Balance

  • But at the same time you can't...
    -- Angela Davis

    #African American

  • My idea of philosophy is that if it is not relevant to human problems, if it does not tell us how we can go about eradicating some of the misery in this world, then it is not worth the name of philosophy. I think Socrates made a very profound statement when he asserted that the raison d'etre of philosophy is to teach us proper living. In this day and age 'proper living' means liberation from the urgent problems of poverty, economic necessity and indoctrination, mental oppression.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Philosophy #Mean #Thinking

  • It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals
    -- Angela Davis

    #Essentials #Heroic #Individual

  • Human beings cannot be willed and molded into non-existence.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Words Of Wisdom #African American #Existence

  • When Bush says democracy, I often wonder what he's referring to.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Democracy #Wonder

  • 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

    #Winning #Men #White

  • Well for one, the 13th amendment to the constitution of the US which abolished slavery - did not abolish slavery for those convicted of a crime.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Slavery #Constitution #Crime

  • One of the reasons that so many people of color and poor people are in prison is that the deindustrialization of the economy has led to the creation of new economies and the expansion of some old ones – I have already mentioned the drug trade and the market for sexual services. At the same time, though, there are any number of communities that more than welcome prisons as a source of employment. Communities even compete with one another to be the site where new prisons will be constructed because prisons create a significant number of relatively good jobs for their residents
    -- Angela Davis

    #Jobs #Color #Numbers

  • We have been basically persuaded that we should not talk about racism.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Racism #Should

  • It is both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Personality #Events #Generations

  • I grew up in the southern United States in a city which at that time during the late '40's and early '50's was the most segregated city in the country, and in a sense learning how to oppose the status quo was a question of survival.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #Cities #Southern

  • As soon as my trial was over, we tried to use the energy that had developed around my case to create another organization, which we called the National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Organization #Racism #Political

  • You can never stop and as older people, we have to learn how to take leadership from the youth and I guess I would say that this is what I'm attempting to do right now.
    -- Angela Davis

    #People #Youth #Attempting

  • Yes, I think it's really important to acknowledge that Dr. King, precisely at the moment of his assassination, was re-conceptualizing the civil rights movement and moving toward a sort of coalitional relationship with the trade union movement.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Kings #Moving #Thinking

  • First of all, I didn't suggest that we should simply get rid of all prisons.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Firsts #Prison #Should

  • Now, if we look at the way in which the labor movement itself has evolved over the last couple of decades, we see increasing numbers of black people who are in the leadership of the labor movement and this is true today.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Couple #Numbers #People

  • My name became known because I was, one might say accidentally the target of state repression and because so many people throughout the country and other parts of the world organized around the demand for my freedom.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #Names #People

  • In a sense the quest for the emancipation of black people in the U.S. has always been a quest for economic liberation which means to a certain extent that the rise of black middle class would be inevitable.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Mean #Class #People

  • I'm suggesting that we abolish the social function of prisons.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Prison #Social #Function

  • And I guess what I would say is that we can't think narrowly about movements for black liberation and we can't necessarily see this class division as simply a product or a certain strategy that black movements have developed for liberation.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Class #Black

  • I think that has to do with my awareness that in a sense we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Responsibility #Opportunity #Reality

  • That's true but I think the contemporary problem that we are facing increasing numbers of black people and other people of color being thrown into a status that involves work in alternative economies and increasing numbers of people who are incarcerated.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Color #Numbers

  • The campaign against the death penalty has been - while a powerful campaign, its participants have been those who attend all of the vigils, a relatively small number of people.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Powerful #Numbers #People

  • Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialities, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Mean #Names #Racism

  • We don’t go further than what Marx called the exchange value of the actual object- we don’t think about the relations that that object embodies- and were important to the production of that object, whether it’s our food or our clothes or our iPads or all the materials we use to acquire an education at an institution like this. That would really be revolutionary to develop a habit of imagining the human relations and non-human relations behind all of the objects that constitute our environment.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Ipads #Clothes

  • I think it’s the right moment to talk about it because it is part of a revolutionary perspective - how can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet and that would mean challenging the whole capitalist industrial form of food production.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Mean #Thinking #Perspective

  • I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Saws #Individual #Particular

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

    #America #Slavery #Death Penalty

  • It's true that it's within the realm of cultural politics that young people tend to work through political issues, which I think is good, although it's not going to solve the problems
    -- Angela Davis

    #Thinking #Issues #People

  • But at the same time you can't assume that making a difference 20 years ago is going to allow you to sort of live on the laurels of those victories for the rest of your life
    -- Angela Davis

    #Years #Differences #Victory

  • Well I teach in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. So that's my primary work. I lecture on various campuses and in various communities across the country and other parts of the world.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Country #California #Community

  • A fair trial would have been no trial at all.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Trials

  • 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.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Girl #Meaningful #Baby

  • The prison is not the only institution that has posed complex challenges to the people who have lived with it and have become so inured to its presence that they could not con­ceive of society without it. Within the history of the United States the system of slavery immediately comes to mind.
    -- Angela Davis

    #People #Challenges #Mind

  • Because it would be too agonizing to cope with the possibility that anyone, including our­ selves, could become a prisoner, we tend to think of the prison as disconnected from our own lives. This is even true for some of us, women as well as men, who have already experienced imprisonment.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Men #Thinking #Self

  • Where cultural representations do not reach out beyond themselves, there is the danger that they will function as the surrogates for activism, that they will constitute both the beginning and the end of political practice.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Practice #Political #Danger

  • I have a hard time accepting diversity as a synonym for justice. Diversity is a corporate strategy.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Hard Times #Justice #Diversity

  • Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Sometimes #Wells

  • I'm involved in the work around prison rights in general.
    -- Angela Davis

    #Rights #Prison