When I was growing up, and I’m guessing this is true for many people, I thought anything in the past was ancient history and had little relevance to me. I graduated high school and college in the 1980s, so anything that occurred in the 1970s or earlier was practically the Dark Ages.

That’s the fallacy about history—it does matter. Assuming it had little or no bearing on my life now means there is so much more still to learn.

And, so, yet another book opened my eyes to racial and political injustices in the United States. This time it was Angela Davis—An Autobiography (Haymarket Books, 1974). The first edition was edited by Toni Morrison.

The book is captivating. While I knew something of Davis, the book put many of the pieces together. While this is an autobiography, it’s only a small—though extremely significant—chunk of her life.

She lost her job teaching at UCLA because she was a member of the Communist Party. She was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List. She was a force to be reckoned with.

While there will be plenty of people who won’t read this book, I ask you to ask yourself: “Why won’t you?” It provides plenty of examples of racism, social injustice, prison injustice, and a society that is so full of hatred.

I feel like I am more knowledgeable for having read the book. That is a good thing. Sometimes it’s good to be uncomfortable.

The audio version of the book was released in 2022, with Davis doing the reading. Today, she is 79 years old and still active in racial justice issues.

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