Angela Davis' imprint on the Civil Rights Movement is one that cannot be overlooked. Davis will forever be emblematic of the black academic that speaks truth to power. The living legend has dedicated her life to dismantling oppression and deserves to be remembered and honored on her birthday. 

Here are 11 quotes by Davis' to inspire our relentless fight for freedom. 

"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."


"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."

"Because it would be too agonizing to cope with the possibility that anyone, including ourselves, 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."

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

"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."

"Scores of men are dead and unknown numbers are wounded. By now, it would seem, more people should realize that such explosive acts of repression are not minor aberrations in a society not terribly disturbing in other aspects."

"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."

"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."

"I think the importance of doing activist work is precise 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."

"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?"

"We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death."

"I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I'm changing the things I cannot accept."

"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."

Loving Blavity's content? Sign up for the daily newsletter here.