Angela Davis is an author, philosopher, professor and political activist from the United States.
She engaged deeply with the Communist and Black Panther Parties. Davis famously supported the Soledad Brothers, facing charges for a prison guard’s murder.
Accused herself during a related trial escape attempt, she landed in jail for 18 months, sparking widespread support and inspiring songs by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Rolling Stones.
Outed as a lesbian in 1997, Davis fervently champions Black, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
She has taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz and authored seminal works, including pushing against the prison-industrial complex.
Below are some of the best quotes by Angela Davis.
Best Angela Davis Quotes
It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism. ~ Angela Davis.
When Bush says democracy, I often wonder what he’s referring to. ~ Angela Davis.
We must always attempt to lift as we climb. ~ Angela Davis.
We are never assured of justice without a fight. ~ Angela Davis.
We have been basically persuaded that we should not talk about racism. ~ Angela Davis.
I’m involved in the work around prison rights in general. ~ Angela Davis.
We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
As soon as I got out of jail, as soon as my trial was over, first of all, during the time I was in jail, there was an organization called the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis, and I insisted that it be called National United Committee to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
Well of course there’s been a great deal of progress over the last 40 years. We don’t have laws that segregate black people within the society any longer. ~ Angela Y. Davis.
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.
Top Angela Davis Quotes
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept. ~ Angela Y. Davis.
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.
I would say that as our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues, and new terrains on which we engage in the quest for freedom. Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom. ~ Angela Davis.
Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
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.
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.
I’m suggesting that we abolish the social function of prisons. ~ Angela Davis.
Inspirational Angela Davis Quotes
Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do. ~ Angela Davis.
Imprisonment has become the response of first resort to far too many of our social problems. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
Kids these days are kind of going back to Tupac and Snoop Doggy Dogg as examples of people that stand for something. ~ Angela Davis.
Radical simply means ‘grasping things at the root.’ ~ Angela Davis.
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.
I don’t think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it’s only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect. ~ Angela Davis.
Whenever you conceptualize social justice struggles, you will always defeat your own purposes if you cannot imagine the people around whom you are struggling as equal partners. ~ Angela Davis.
Thoughtful Angela Davis Quotes
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.
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.
Poor people, people of color – especially are much more likely to be found in prison than in institutions of higher education. ~ Angela Davis.
I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively. ~ Angela Davis.
Progressive art can assist people to learn what’s at work in the society in which they live. ~ Angela Davis.
I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers. ~ Angela Davis.
Justice is indivisible. You can’t decide who gets civil rights and who doesn’t. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
Motivational Angela Davis Quotes
I think that the response to the OJ Simpson trial was based on a kind of sensibility that emerged out of the many campaigns to defend black communities against police violence. ~ Angela Davis.
We must always learn to lift as we climb. ~ Angela Y. Davis.
Human beings cannot be willed and molded into non-existence. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
What this country needs is more unemployed politicians. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
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.
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.
In many ways you can say that the prison serves as an institution that consolidates the state’s inability and refusal to address the most pressing social problems of this era. ~ Angela Davis.
Wise Angela Davis Quotes
Deviant men have been constructed as criminal, while deviant women have been constructed as insane. ~ Angela Davis.
Feminism insists on methods of thought and action that urge us to think about things together that appear to be separate, and to disaggregate things that appear to naturally belong together. ~ Angela Davis.
If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
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.
I try never to take myself for granted as somebody who should be out there speaking. Rather, I’m doing it only because I feel there’s something important that needs to be conveyed. ~ Angela Y. Davis.
I think it is important to acknowledge the extent to which the black middle class tends to rely on a kind of imagined struggle that gets projected into commodities like kente cloth for example on the one hand and images like the Million Man March. ~ Angela Davis.
To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women. ~ Angela Davis.
I’m thinking about some developments say in the 80s when the anti-apartheid movement began to claim more support and strength within the US. Black trade unionists played a really important role in developing this US anti-apartheid movement. ~ Angela Davis.
Walls turned sideways are bridges. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
Famous Angela Davis Quotes
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.
Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories. ~ Angela Davis.
Racism cannot be separated from capitalism. ~ Angela Davis.
You can’t criticize people for wanting to have a decent life or wanting to live decently. ~ Angela Davis.
I feel that if we don’t take seriously the ways in which racism is embedded in structures of institutions, if we assume that there must be an identifiable racist who is the perpetrator, then we won’t ever succeed in eradicating racism. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. ~ Angela Davis.
Inspiring Angela Davis Quotes
It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals. ~ Angela Davis.
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. ~ Angela Davis.
Anyway I don’t think we can rely on governments, regardless of who is in power, to do the work that only mass movements can do. ~ Angela Davis.
Feminism involves so much more than gender equality. And it involves so much more than gender. ~ Angela Y. Davis.
We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death. ~ Angela Davis.
We can’t talk about the black community. It’s no longer a homogeneous community; it was never a homogeneous community. ~ Angela Davis.
How can we produce a sense of belonging to communities in struggle that is not evaporated by the onslaught of our everyday routines? How do we build movements capable of generating the power to compel governments and corporations to curtail their violence? ~ Angela Davis.
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.
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.
Popular Angela Davis Quotes
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.
If we do not know how to meaningfully talk about racism, our actions will move in misleading directions. ~ Angela Davis.
Communities are always political projects, political projects that can never solely rely on identity. ~ Angela Davis.
A fair trial would have been no trial at all. ~ Angela Davis.
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.
We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia. ~ Angela Davis.
I have a hard time accepting diversity as a synonym for justice. Diversity is a corporate strategy. ~ Angela Davis.
So these were the 80 top Angela Davis quotes on Life, Feminism, Women, Race and Class.