You Have the Right to Be Brilliant: An Interview with Dr. Angela Davis

August 27, 2019

Photography by Shawn Theodore

Dr. Angela Davis' brilliance is politics in motion. Active in the struggle for Black liberation for over 50 years, Dr. Davis has pursued racial justice whatever the cost. From prison abolition to Black feminist theory to cultural critique to LGBTQ advocacy, she has championed the notion that a world of full human flourishing is worth pursuing. Dr. Davis blends theory and practice to live out her values in real time. Formerly on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in October 1970 for her political activism, and subject of then-California Governor Ronald Reagan's campaign to prevent her from teaching in the state university system, Davis is now a Distinguished Professor Emerita in U.C. Santa Cruz's History of Consciousness Department. The author of nine books and scores of articles, she also lectures regularly across the world. Throughout her career, Dr. Davis has used her intellectual acumen, voice and scholarship to uplift the brilliance of Black people across the diaspora. Dr. Davis represents the right to theorize the world in order to change it and the right to demand answers from the powerful to inconvenient questions in the present.



Why does society discredit the brilliance of Black people?

Dr. Angela Davis: I think society tends to discredit the brilliance of Black people because that brilliance always pushes us forward. It pushes us into positions that may not be exactly comfortable. It seems to me that when you're talking about the United States of America, every major step forward in the expansion and development of democracy has happened as a result of Black people's brilliance.


Read the full interview over at Paper Magazine