Angela Davis is an icon of the 1960s, known for her political activism, academic achievements and overall radicalism.
Now, Davis’s life, through her writings and photos, will live on at Harvard.
In total, Harvard is acquiring 151 boxes of materials, which represent decades of Davis’s life as an activist, scholar, educator and author.
“My papers reflect 50 years of involvement in activist and scholarly collaborations seeking to expand the reach of justice in the world,” Davis, 74, said in a statement. “I am very happy that at the Schlesinger Library they will join those of June Jordan, Patricia Williams, Pat Parker, and so many other women who have been advocates of social transformation.”
The collection will include a manuscript of her autobiography with edits by Toni Morrison, photos of young Davis — one in which she’s posing with Fidel Castro — tape reels from her radio show “Angela Speaks,” a painting done for Davis by a California death-row inmate, materials around her arrest in connection with the 1970 shooting of a court judge by an acquaintance who used firearms registered in her name and more.
Davis has pursued social justice across multiple fronts, from the Civil Rights Movement to feminism to the study of punishment and prisons, which led her to found Critical Resistance, which works to end the prison-industrial complex.
Elizabeth Hinton, an assistant professor of history and African and African American studies at Harvard, said in a statement that she expects to use materials from Davis’s archives in her classes.
“That will make history come alive for generations of students,” she said, “and hopefully inspire them to pursue social justice goals even after they leave Harvard’s campus.”