TYPE: Archive
COMPONENTS: Post cards, letters and oversized pieces, pro and con. Vp
CONDITION: must be seen.
priceInfo: 4/1/16
ITEM ID: 3562
  • Artwork
  • Artwork
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Correspondence for Angela Davis Trial

Decade: 1970s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)
Notes: circa 1972

Group of several hundred pieces of correspondence sent to the Santa Clara Courthouse where the trial of Angela Davis was taking place. An extraordinary collection of postcards, letters, and home-made artistic pieces, sent to Judge Richard E. Arnason at the San Jose courthouse during the Angela Davis trial. The trial of Angela Davis galvanized the left both here and abroad. The German left organized a mail campaign and produced hundreds of post cards that read “We Demand stop the Trial Against Angela Davis. Dem Frieden die Freiheit.” Letters, post cards and telegrams poured into the courthouse and Judge Arnason’s office, including one from New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug. In the end, following just 13 hours of deliberations, an all-white jury found Angela Davis not guilty of murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy charges. The room erupted and Judge Arnason threatened to clear the court. Davis, who had been relatively impassive during the proceedings, broke down and wept. “This is the happiest day of my life,” she said. Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, academic scholar, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.  Her interests include prisoner rights; she founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex.  She was a professor (now retired) at the University of California, Santa Cruz  in its History of Consciousness Department and a former director of the university’s Feminist Studies department.Davis was prosecuted under federal law and acquitted at trial of conspiracy in the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County, California, courtroom, in which four persons were killed.Her research interests are feminism, African-American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan’s request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.