Let me start by telling some of her unique and compelling story and I’m sure you’ll figure out who she is…
In August of 1970, 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson engineered the kidnapping of a superior court judge, an assistant district attorney and three jurors in open court in San Rafael, CA.
He demanded the release of his brother, famous and politically-outspoken inmate George Jackson and the group known as the Soledad Brothers.
During the episode, Jonathan managed to provide arms to three San Quentin inmates who were on trial at the time… The resulting shootout claimed the lives of Jonathan, two of the inmates, and the judge, and left the assistant district attorney badly wounded.
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Since Jonathan also acted as bodyguard for his brother George’s close friend, a UCLA professor and well-known activist by the name of Angela Davis, it was soon reported that a number of the guns purchased in the shooting were registered to Davis.
Wanted by police, Davis fled California disguised in wigs as a national manhunt –or womanhunt–ensued. She fled from LA to Chicago, and then to Miami before the FBI finally arrested her on October 13, 1970.
Davis was charged with murder for her alleged part in the incident and, after spending 18 months in jail and receiving an international groundswell of support, she was acquitted.
Before, during, and after her incredible and historic ordeal, Davis never stopped speaking out on women’s rights or civil rights. She continues to do so today as a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
And thankfully her story is now coming to the Big Screen.
Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is the name of the new documentary to be released on April 5th and there are black women in power positions all over this film.
Not only is it based on a black woman, but Jada Pinkett Smith is an executive producer of the movie and award-winning African American director Shola Lynch is the filmmaker. These sisters are doing it.
And the point that emerges through all of this–is, as women, we have the power to define who we are despite the challenges and obstacles placed in our path.
We shape our own identity.
And what better way to close out Women’s History Month than with words from Angela Davis herself.
“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. “