Author, academic and counterculture activist Angela Davis has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of the disenfranchised since the ’60s. Her 1974 autobiography traces a life of discrimination and imprisonment during America’s Black Power and McCarthyism movements, and paints a powerful portrait of one of the period’s most iconic revolutionary figures.

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

A tireless activist for civil rights, Davis’s primary research interests include feminism, African American studies, Marxism, social consciousness and America’s prison-industrial complex. Read on for a list of books that influenced Davis, and complement with the reading lists of Malcolm X, Alice Walker, bell hooks, and Gloria Steinem.


The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (also rec’d by Joan Didion)

What Is to Be Done, State and Revolution and Imperialism by Vladimir Lenin

The Nature of Fascism by Roger Griffin

The Academic Rebellion: A Marxist Critique by Bettina Aptheker

The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse

On the Right to Self-Determination for the Negro People in the Black Belt by Claudia Jones

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State by Frederich Engels

Das Kapital by Karl Marx (also rec’d by Nick Cave)

American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism by Vladimir Lenin

(via Revolutionary Science)


Books by Angela Davis

Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974)

Women, Race and Class (1981)

Women, Culture and Politics (1989)

Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

Freedom Is A Constant Struggle (2016)

Categories: Activists Writers

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