76+ Profound Angela Davis Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, academic, and author. As a prominent counterculture activist, she advocates gender equity, prison reform and alliances across color lines. Inspirational Angela Davis quotes will encourage you to care about those around you, focus on what matters and keep up the fight for transforms.

If you’re searching for famous activism quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Susan B. Anthony quotes, Aretha Franklin quotes, and Dorothy Parker quotes.

Best Angela Y. Davis Quotes

I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement. Angela Davis

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept. Angela Davis

To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women. Angela Davis

Radical simply means grasping things at the root. Angela Davis

As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people’s struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism. Angela Davis

The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what’s that? The freedom to starve? Angela Davis

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time. Angela Davis

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

I believe profoundly in the possibilities of democracy, but democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism. As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us. Angela Davis

Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages. Angela Davis

No march, movement, or agenda that defines manhood in the narrowest terms and seeks to make women lesser partners in this quest for equality can be considered a positive step. Angela Davis

In a racist society it is not enough to be non racist, we must be anti racist. Angela Davis

It is important not only to have the awareness and to feel impelled to become involved, it’s important that there be a forum out there to which one can relate, an organization a movement. Angela Davis

If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night. Angela Davis

I think we have to really focus on the issues much more than we may have in the past. I think we have to seek to create coalitional strategies that go beyond racial lines. We need to bring black communities, Chicano communities, Puerto Rican communities, Asian American communities together. Angela Davis

Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible. Angela Davis

Progressive art can assist people to learn what’s at work in the society in which they live. Angela Davis

When Obama was elected president, a prisoner said one black man in the White House doesn’t make up for one million black men in the Big House. Angela Davis

I don’t think it’s necessary to feel guilty. Because I know that I’m still doing the work that is going to help more sisters and brothers to challenge the whole criminal justice system, and I’m trying to use whatever knowledge I was able to acquire to continue to do the work in our communities that will move us forward. Angela Davis

We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death. Angela Davis

Well of course there’s been a great deal of progress over the last 40 years. We don’t have laws that segregate black people within the society any longer. Angela Davis

I don’t think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it’s only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect. Angela Davis

The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that position be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one’s contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time. Angela Davis

I feel that if we don’t take seriously the ways in which racism is embedded in structures of institutions, if we assume that there must be an identifiable racist who is the perpetrator, then we won’t ever succeed in eradicating racism. Angela Y. Davis

It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals in order for people today to recognize their potential agency as a part of an ever expanding community of struggle. Angela Davis

We have inherited a fear of memories of slavery. It is as if to remember and acknowledge slavery would amount to our being consumed by it. As a matter of fact, in the popular black imagination, it is easier for us to construct ourselves as children of Africa, as the sons and daughters of kings and queens, and thereby ignore the Middle Passage and centuries of enforced servitude in the Americas. Although some of us might indeed be the descendants of African royalty, most of us are probably descendants of their subjects, the daughters and sons of African peasants or workers. Angela Davis

If we do not know how to meaningfully talk about racism, our actions will move in misleading directions. Angela Davis

Pregressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensity social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. Angela Davis

It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism. Angela Davis

I try never to take myself for granted as somebody who should be out there speaking. Rather, I’m doing it only because I feel there’s something important that needs to be conveyed. Angela Davis

But there’s a message there for everyone and it is that people can unite, that democracy from below can challenge oligarchy, that imprisoned migrants can be freed, that fascism can be overcome, and that equality is emancipatory. Angela Davis

In many ways you can say that the prison serves as an institution that consolidates the state’s inability and refusal to address the most pressing social problems of this era. Angela Y. Davis

I don’t think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it’s only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect. Angela Davis

Whenever you conceptualize social justice struggles, you will always defeat your own purposes if you cannot imagine the people around whom you are struggling as equal partners. Angela Y. Davis

The struggle for an abolitionist democracy is aspiring to create the institutions that will truly allow for a democratic society. Angela Davis

If we do not know how to meaningfully talk about racism, our actions will move in misleading directions. Angela Y. Davis

In a racist society it is not enough to be non racist, we must be anti  racist. Angela Davis

Anyway I don’t think we can rely on governments, regardless of who is in power, to do the work that only mass movements can do. Angela Y. Davis

If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night. Angela Davis

One of the reasons that so many people of color and poor people are in prison is that the deindustrialization of the economy has led to the creation of new economies and the expansion of some old ones  I have already mentioned the drug trade and the market for sexual services. At the same time, though, there are any number of communities that more than welcome prisons as a source of employment. Communities even compete with one another to be the site where new prisons will be constructed because prisons create a significant number of relatively good jobs for their residents. Angela Davis

We have accumulated a wealth of historical experience which confirms our belief that the scales of American justice are out of balance. Angela Davis

Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories. Angela Y. Davis

Invisible, repetitive, exhausting, unproductive, uncreative  these are the adjectives which most perfectly capture the nature of housework. Angela Davis

If Black people had simply accepted a status of economic and political inferiority, the mob murders would probably have subsided. But because vast numbers of ex slaves refused to discard their dreams of progress, more than ten thousand lynchings occurred during the three decades following the war. Angela Y. Davis

Racism cannot be separated from capitalism. Angela Davis

Deviant men have been constructed as criminal, while deviant women have been constructed as insane. Angela Y. Davis

There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice. Angela Davis

The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underly the commodities that we use on a daily basis. And so food is like that. Angela Y. Davis

Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings. Angela Davis

Feminism insists on methods of thought and action that urge us to think about things together that appear to be separate, and to disaggregate things that appear to naturally belong together. Angela Y. Davis

I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers. Angela Davis

It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals in order for people today to recognize their potential agency as a part of an ever expanding community of struggle. What. Angela Y. Davis

We still have to struggle against the impact of racism, but it doesn’t happen in the same way. I think it is much more complicated today than it ever was. Angela Davis

But there’s a message there for everyone and it is that people can unite, that democracy from below can challenge oligarchy, that imprisoned migrants can be freed, that fascism can be overcome, and that equality is emancipatory. Angela Y. Davis

I think in black communities today we need to encourage a lot more cross racial organizing. Angela Davis

Imprisonment is increasingly used as a strategy of deflection of the underlying social problems racism, poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and so on. Angela Y. Davis

We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death. Angela Davis

The lawbreaker is thus no longer an evil minded man or woman, but simply a debtor, a liable person whose duty is to take responsibility for his or her acts, and to assume the duty of repair. Angela Y. Davis

It Feminism has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post colonialities and ability and more genders than we can even imagine, and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name. Angela Davis

I think that this is an era where we have to encourage that sense of community particularly at a time when neoliberalism attempts to force people to think of themselves only in individual terms and not in collective terms. It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism. Angela Y. Davis

To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women. Angela Davis

No amount of psychological therapy or group training can effectively address racism in this country, unless we also begin to dismantle the structures of racism. Angela Y. Davis

I’m a feminist so I believe in inhabiting contradictions. Angela Davis

How would you explain the popularity of this narrative that the oppressed have to ensure the safety of the oppressors? Placing the question of violence at the forefront almost inevitably serves to obscure the issues that are at the center of struggles for justice. Angela Y. Davis

Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime. Angela Davis

When Black women stand up as they did during the Montgomery Bus Boycott as they did during the Black liberation era, earth shaking changes occur. Angela Y. Davis

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

What this country needs is more unemployed politicians. Angela Davis

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time. Angela Davis

If one looks at the history of struggles against racism in the US, no change has ever happened simply because the president chose to move in a more progressive direction. Every change that has happened has come as a result of mass movements. Angela Davis

I believe in making contradictions productive, not in having to choose one side or the other side. As opposed to choosing either or, choosing both. Angela Davis

Despite the important of antiracist social movements over the last half century, racism hides from view within institutional structures, and its most reliable refuge is the prison system. Angela Y. Davis

Feminism insists on methods of thought and action that urge us to think about things together that appear to be separate, and to disaggregate things that appear to naturally belong together. Angela Davis

I would say that as our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues, and new terrains on which we engage in the quest for freedom. Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom. Angela Y. Davis

Hope you enjoy reading this collection of powerful Angela Davis quotes and let me know in the comment section which one will become your daily mantra.

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