16 of History's Most Rebellious Women

Women Revolutionaries
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Angela Davis, the U.S.
By the time Angela Davis was 26, she was a scholar, a political activist and a Most Wanted Fugitive of the FBI. Her roots as a leader during the political turmoil of the 1960s stretch back to her childhood in segregated Birmingham, Ala. After spending a year at the Sorbonne, Davis returned to a racially heated America. By the late '60s, she held membership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party and the American Communist Party. Her militant involvement cost her a UCLA lecturer position when the California regents learned of her affiliations in 1970. However, Davis' activism continued with her support of three Black Panther inmates at Soledad State Prison. At their trial, for a prison guard's murder, a botched kidnap and escape attempt resulted in the death of a federal judge, Harold J. Haley. Davis was accused of supplying the guns. She fled, sparking a furious manhunt and landing her a spot on the Most Wanted list. While she was on the run, a movement advocating her freedom flourished. Davis was caught in New York but was acquitted in 1972. Despite the agitation of then California Governor Ronald Reagan, she resumed her teaching career at several universities in the state and is now a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has authored several books, including Women, Culture and Politics (1988) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003). —Madison Gray

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