These Angela Davis quotes will inspire you to move forward into a direction of progress.
Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, academic, and author. Her work focuses on important issues such as women’s rights, gender equality, prison reform, and politics.
Davis is also known for her work with the Communist Party USA and her involvement in the Black Panther Party during the Civil Rights Movement.
Born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis grew up in ‘Dynamite Hill’, a neighborhood which was notorious for racial conflict. She went to segregated schools through high school and was involved in civil rights demonstrations from a young age.
As part of her work for prisoner rights, Davis co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison–industrial complex. She has also published several books on race, class, and gender.
Throughout her adult life, Angela Davis has spent time traveling and lecturing, discussing issues regarding race, the criminal justice system and women’s rights.
Davis’ work continues to inspire countless black women across America. In her honor, below is our collection of inspirational and powerful Angela Davis quotes.
Don’t forget to also read our collection of quotes by Bessie Coleman for more inspiration.
Angela Davis quotes celebrating identity and integrity
1. “Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary’s life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: Imagine feeling so strongly about a cause or injustice that you dedicate your entire lifetime to it. Sometimes, these revolutionaries even give their lives for the struggle they have committed themselves too. That level of passion and purpose is something most of us hope we are lucky to discover just a sliver of!
2. “The process of empowerment cannot be simplistically defined in accordance with our own particular class interests. We must learn to lift as we climb.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: It is important to be aware of others while we are climbing to the top and reaching our goals. There is someone watching silently that you are inspiring. Imagine taking that a step further and empowering and lifting someone along with you? Success is not something we should hoard for ourselves, but share with those around us!
3. “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: These tasks, changing things we find unacceptable, are often thought of to be impossible. Where does one even start? Start with improving your knowledge and getting people in your corner. Then realize nothing is impossible, you can achieve much more than you think! Your influence can be bigger than you ever realized.
4. “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: What does it mean to liberate the mind? According to Dr. Steven Hayes a liberated mind “is psychological approach that has changed many lives by turning us toward focusing on our values.” What matters to you, and why? Liberating your mind will help you live with more courage, freedom, and joy!
5. “I think that has to do with my awareness that in a sense we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: We take many things for granted in today’s day and age. There were so many people that came before us and fought for the things we take for granted now. Being aware of this will help you not take things for granted and practice gratitude.
6. “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
Everyday Application: The world is much bigger than ourselves. If we have the means and desire to help than we should. There is so much injustice, pain, and suffering in the world around us. Get involved with groups and create change in your local communities. Learn more about the struggles of others and use your individual successes to make a difference.
7. “To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.” – Angela Davis
Everyday Application: Understanding gender within a society helps you figure out the power balance. It also means that you can spot the privileges that some people have. Understanding this dynamic helps to create progress and reduce discrimination.
8. “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
Everyday Application: Who we are, and what we are passionate about, is shaped by our past. The trials we face when we are young become part of what fuels our dreams. However, your past doesn’t need to define you. You can take the pain and turn it into an opportunity to become someone who could have helped you when you needed it.
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of black women quotes on self-love, life, and success.
9. “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
Everyday Application: We create our own limits. So, if you believe and behave in a way that could radically transform the world, then you will accomplish it. Think of everyone who has a radical and revolutionary impact. People may have thought they were crazy, and that their efforts were in vain, but they believed they could make a difference. And they did!
Angela Davis quotes that will inspire you to keep up the fight
10. “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
Everyday Application: Wolfgang Merkel addresses the dynamic between democracy and capitalism in his paper, “Is Capitalism Compatible With Democracy.” He states that. “Capitalism and democracy follow different logics: unequally distributed property rights on the one hand, equal civic and political rights on the other; profit oriented trade within capitalism in contrast to the search for the common good within democracy.” At some point it would seem that we will have to choose what we want to be: a capitalistic nation or a democratic one.
11. “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
12. “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
13. “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
14. “Progressive art can assist people to learn what’s at work in the society in which they live.” – Angela Davis
15. “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
16. “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
17. “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
18. “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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of community quotes about the power of connecting with others.
Angela Davis quotes on caring about the issues that are affecting people today
19. “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
20. “If we do not know how to meaningfully talk about racism, our actions will move in misleading directions.” – Angela Davis
21. “It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.” – Angela Davis
22. “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
23. “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
24. “The struggle for an abolitionist democracy is aspiring to create the institutions that will truly allow for a democratic society.” – Angela Davis
25. “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” – Angela Davis
More Angela Davis quotes and sayings
26. “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.” – Angela Davis
27. “We have accumulated a wealth of historical experience which confirms our belief that the scales of American justice are out of balance.” – Angela Davis
28. “Invisible, repetitive, exhausting, unproductive, uncreative – these are the adjectives which most perfectly capture the nature of housework.” –
29. “Racism cannot be separated from capitalism.” – Angela Davis
30. “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
31. “Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings.” – Angela Davis
32. “I never saw myself as an individual who had any particular leadership powers.” – Angela Davis
33. “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
34. “I think in black communities today we need to encourage a lot more cross racial organizing.” – Angela Davis
35. “We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.” – Angela Davis
Which of these Angela Davis quotes was your favorite?
Angela Davis is known for her work to eradicate oppression in the United States as well as worldwide. She has dedicate her life to promoting women’s rights and racial justice.
Davis’ work has influenced and motivated many people to have conversations about issues that are happening in our nation today that are otherwise not talked about. Hopefully, the above quotes will inspire you to move forward into a direction of progress.
Did you enjoy these Angela Davis quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.
May 26, 2022 2:40 AM EST