On August 18, 1970, Angela Yvonne Davis’s name was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for kidnapping, murder, and interstate flight. Davis was already a darling of the left for her membership in the Communist Party and outspoken support for the Black Panthers, which caused then-California governor Ronald Reagan to personally orchestrate the 26-year-old’s dismissal from a teaching post at UCLA. Being hunted by J. Edgar Hoover for a crime she clearly did not commit took Davis’s celebrity to a whole new level, instantly making her as famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, as revolutionaries such as Che and Mao.continued...
“I saw her as a righteous woman, a sister, an elder who didn’t crack.”
Almost from day one, posters were the way the world connected with Angela Davis. During the two months she was on the run, head shops did a brisk business selling reprints of the “Wanted” poster that graced the walls of post offices across the United States; by some accounts, Angela’s “Wanted” poster, with its appeal to call the FBI director personally at National 8-7117, was a better seller than hash pipes.
After she was apprehended on October 13, 1970, Davis’s release from prison became a cause célèbre—initially Aretha Franklin offered to post her bail, but in the end, after almost a year and a half in prison, it was a dairy farmer and a businessman who wrote the checks. During her incarceration, an international “Free Angela” movement sprang up. John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded “Angela” for their album “Some Time in New York City.” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote “Sweet Black Angel,” which was released on “Exile on Main Street.”
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