The university I attend is three hours away from my home and every trip I take back to school, I pass this massive flagpole which holds the confederate flag. The blatant display of that flag serves as a reminder that no matter how hard my ancestors fought, black people will always face hardships for residing in a country that they built and unwillingly came to. The oppression that African American’s face in society is what influenced me to study philosophy and sociology at my predominately white institution. With my school lacking diversity in their departments, I had to teach myself to an extent. This led me to become infatuated with the story of Angela Davis.
Angela Davis is a black activist, scholar, educator, and author who was born in Birmingham, Alabama during the early 1940s. Dr. Davis was raised in an environment full of hatred, but she managed to take her personal experience with racial oppression and be a voice of change within the African American community. She was raised in a household that was associated with the NAACP, which allowed her to develop her voice at a young age. Angela’s strength to continue to fight through social inequality and political disharmony is what made her become a key leader in the Civil Rights Movement and the reformation of the American criminal justice system.
All of her accomplishments allowed her to travel around the world and educate others about the black experience in America and political/racial issues outside of the United States. Her lifestyle is what I admire the most because all of her beliefs are rooted in who she is, a black woman. To be a black woman is about as socially marginalized as it gets in America, so her ability to communicate her perspective to others is phenomenal because of the intersectionality. Another element of her story that plays a significant role in my education is how her ideologies allowed her to have a huge impact internationally. Angela taking her beliefs and share them with different people from various backgrounds all across the world is exactly what I hope to do someday. While I’m currently spending the semester in France, I spend a lot of my time communicating with other international students about the racial, political, and socio-economic issues within their home countries. Engaging in the discussion of complex issues within a society is what Dr. Davis’ work focused on and I plan on writing and educating others on the same issues.
In conclusion, Angela Davis plays a significant role in my life because she set precedent for what I hope to achieve someday. She paved the way for young black women by setting an example of what it means to stand up for what you believe in, what is right, and for ourselves. She exemplifies what it means to be a leader for one’s own community. Her story is far from over because her legacy will always live within young black women like myself.