We Have to Talk About Liberating Minds: Angela Davis’ Quotes on Freedom – AnOther Magazine

June 19 is celebrated annually across America as Juneteenth, a holidaythat marks the freedom of formerly enslaved African Americans: on June 19, 1865, it was proclaimed that all slaves in Texas, the final Confederate state to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation at the end of the Civil War, were now free. In the more than 150 years since, Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day or Liberation Day has been celebrated by African American communities throughout the USA, and many are campaigning for the day to become an official national holiday.

In 2020, Juneteenth arrives amid the context of the largest civil rights protests across the world since the 1960s. This years protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died at the hands of a white police officer in the city on May 25. Recent weeks have been both a time for action, with protests organised by the globalBlack Lives Matter movement, and also education: in order to effect change, we must learn about systemic racism, racial bias,white privilege and the historieswere not taught in school and continue learning, even as news cyclesmove on and momentum might seem to slow. A celebration of freedom feels poignant, when racist acts of police brutality and violence have galvanised protesters to join the ongoing fight against racism, not just in America but in countries the world over, including the UK.

Angela Davis has long fought for freedom. Hers is a voice that many have sought out and shared in recent weeks, though she has been actively campaigning for racial justice for over 50 years. In the early 1970s, Free Angela became a worldwide rallying cry when Davis was imprisoned and later on trial for charges of murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy (guns that she had bought legally were used for an attack on Marin County Courthouse, in which hostages were taken and four people killed). Free Angela moved beyond politics and into pop culture: the Rolling Stones wrote Sweet Black Angelabout her, and Aretha Franklin declared in Jet magazine in 1970: Angela Davis must go free. Black people will be free Jail is hell to be in, Im going to set her free if theres any justice in our courts not because I believe in communism, but because shes a black woman and she wants freedom for black people.

It was while she was incarcerated that the interview featured in The Black Power Mixtape 19671975 was filmed, impassioned clips of Davis speaking on violence and revolution from which have been shared widely since the films release in 2011. As a professor and activist, she has fought for the abolition of prisons, spoken out against the prison-industrial complex and capitalism, and continuously campaigned for racial justice via her books, speeches and teaching. With Davis long-fought struggle for liberation in mind, we have compiled a selection of her powerful words on freedom (these quotations can act as a starting point, with a list of further resources also included below).

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We Have to Talk About Liberating Minds: Angela Davis' Quotes on Freedom - AnOther Magazine

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