Angela Davis was born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama. She moved to the North of the country during an American Friends Service program that placed black students from the South in integrated schools in the North. She chose Elisabeth Irwin High School and was introduced to Communism, recruited by a Communist Youth group, Advance.
She was further exposed to Communism after attending at Brendeis University in Massachusettes, under a scholarship, and saved up for trips to France, Switzerland and Finland. Her trip to Finland was to attend the 8th World Festival of Youth and Students. When she came back to the USA, the FBI interviewed about her attendance at the Communist festival.
Later on, she also studied at University of Frankfurt. After visiting East Berlin, she felt like the East German government was dealing better with destroying fascism than the West German government. Many of her roommates were active in the Socialist German Student Union. However, Davis returned to the US due to the formation of the Black Panther Party. Davis gained a Master's degree from the San Diego and a doctorate in philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin.
She began her academic career as an acting assisting professor of philosophy in UCLA. Ronald Reagan, who was the Californian governor, fired her from the post since she was affiliated with the BPP and CPUSA and she was quite popular. But the court ruled in her favour saying that she could not be fired and she was reinstated as a professor in UCLA.
She was acquitted of "aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder", when a 17 year old African-American student gained control over a courtroom with firearms that Davis purchased. The 17 year old armed the black defendants, help them to flee whilst also holding the prosecutor and three other female jurors hostages. The judge and the 17 year old were killed in the police shooting and FBI placed Davis as America's Most Wanted Terrorist.
After her acquittal, she visited Cuba and she received positive reception by Afro-Cubans.
Davis has also written several books and is a retired professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1997, she came out as a lesbian.