Talk:Angela Davis

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I think the info from these sources is notable enough to be included:

Video at this link, which is the primary source:

These are secondary sources which reference the primary source:

SquirrelHill1971 (talk) 20:11, 23 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that this information should be added to the article, but the article appears to be locked from editing. (talk) 23:23, 23 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This page has a WP:SILVERLOCK so to edit this page you will have to create a Wikipedia user account, make 10 edits elsewhere, and wait about 4 days to edit this one. -Location (talk) 01:38, 24 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. (talk) 03:05, 6 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Given that info from Finding Your Roots is included in the article, I wonder why her DNA results aren't included as well. I think the reading public would be interested and surprised. 2600:8800:395:B000:149:2D5B:C936:26E2 (talk) 03:36, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Descendant of mayflower and descendant of slave owners (talk) 14:31, 24 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Does a pro-Soviet communist who was feted in Soviet-block countries qualify as "progressive"? Was a close political ally of apocalyptic communist Jim Jones "progressive"? What are the criteria employed to designate her as a progressive? These are questions, not provocations. Nicmart (talk) 05:14, 30 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Firstly, I think it's important to note that her views significantly changed after the fall of the Soviet Union. She went from being a Marxist-Leninist CPUSA member and supportive of the Soviet carceral state, to splitting from the CPUSA and becoming a non-Leninist democratic socialist founding the CCDS and a prison abolitionist founding Critical Resistance.
Secondly, even prior to the collapse of the USSR, she was progressive in the sense of being for gay rights, anti-racism, and anti-sexism; and if you are including "economic progressivism," in her support for various social programs, social ownership/control of the means of production (old Davis was for state ownership/control, new Davis is unclear on what type of social ownership/control), and her opposition to the American prison-industrial complex. Can we argue that some of her stances were not progressive? Sure, it's up to you to make that argument. However, on the whole I think it is fair to describe both the "old Davis" and the "new Davis" as progressive. 4kbw9Df3Tw (talk) 16:46, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am having trouble finding information about Angela Davis' doctoral dissertation. Sources that note of PhD award say it is from the University of Berlin. However a 2020 book, »Schwarze Schwester Angela« - Die DDR und Angela Davis, notes that the dissertation could not be found at the University of Berlin. Also the year seems unclear. Some sources note it was written in the 1960s, others the 1970s. The only article that seems to be a primary source on this topic comes from a 1981 DDR newspaper where Davis notes she had returned to Germany to complete the dissertation. So that would imply it was post-1981. Any information to help pin down the precise subject/date of award/dissertation topic would be greatly appreciated. Jjazz76 (talk) 00:09, 4 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just for those looking for the page it is 249 of the book.
Im Juli 1981 kehrte Angela Davis als Repräsentantin der CPUSA nach Ostberlin zurück, um an der Kinder- und Jugendspartakiade teilzunehmen.382 Sie nutzte ihren Aufenthalt auch, um dort ihre mehr als zehn Jahre zuvor bei Herbert Marcuse
begonnene Doktorarbeit fertigzustellen. 383 Die Deutsche Staatsbibliothek biete, so Davis, die besten Voraussetzungen, um über Kant und die klassische deutsche Philosophie als »eine der Quellen des Marxismus« zu arbeiten.
Footnote 383 seems key - "Dass Davis eine entsprechende Doktorarbeit abgeschlossen hat, ließ sich im Rahmen dieser
Untersuchung nicht bestätigen. Die Existenz einer Promotionsakte von Davis im Universitätsarchiv der Humboldt-Universität Berlin konnte auf Nachfrage ebenfalls nicht bestätigt werden." Jjazz76 (talk) 14:19, 4 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jjazz76 I think we could include it as part of something like 'German [historian, writer, etc.] Schwarze Schester, in his biography of Davis, otherwise could not find evidence of her dissertation at the University of Berlin'. GuardianH (talk) 18:45, 5 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Funny, I was discussing this exact topic 5 years ago on this page. I found no evidence of a thesis; I concluded "The information fits in better with an honorary Ph.D.". There's an exhaustive bibliography and WorldCat has two 1965 theses. Conservative Review in 1995 couldn't discover the title either (I could only see a snippet view of that). Cancerward (talk) 11:19, 2 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just seeing your comment and thanks for pointing me to your comments from 5 years ago.
Interestingly, I only got interested in this topic because I sort am interested on Ost-Nostalgia and communist regimes and is one of the more prominent Americans crossing the lines about this. But the more I dug the less concrete info I could find.
If you look at German Wikipedia, there is a 2020-2021 conversation on this same topic and they came to the conclusion there was no real underlying evidence of the PhD so they didn't include it. There are plenty of secondary sources but none of them seem to link back to any primary documents from the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.
And honestly, if the East German regime at Humboldt gave her PhD in 1981 for a book she wrote, that is fine with me, I'd just like to know what book and details surrounding it. Given her historical significance and importance in philosophy, I think it is important for the record. Jjazz76 (talk) 04:28, 7 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Conservative Review said 1982-1986, and if "the public information officer insisted that she received a Ph.D." I suppose it's enough to list it.
If research shows it's honorary (e.g. like Joh Bjelke-Petersen) that fact should be noted. There are also other pages where the subject clearly did not get a Ph.D. (e.g. Mohammad-Javad Larijani) but fan-boys and fan-girls keep trying to muddy the water. That's probably happening with the German Angela Davis page.
I'll do an inter-library loan soon so I can see the whole page of Conservative Review, the snippet isn't a complete picture. Cancerward (talk) 23:10, 7 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone should really just directly contact Davis and the university for proof, and write an article about it. To be a professor at universities like the UC system or Rutgers, I'm pretty sure you need to have proof of a PhD. Could be a fun project for anyone who is an investigative journalist. 4kbw9Df3Tw (talk) 16:59, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, at many universities, you don't need a Ph.D. to teach. Most will let you if you're "an acknowledged expert" in the field/topic you want to teach. 2600:8800:395:B000:149:2D5B:C936:26E2 (talk) 03:32, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the lead image[edit]

She's been consistently active for decades, so it's probably best to just judge based on image quality. The Gotfryd picture is probably the best quality picture we have of her (it's a featured picture, etc). The 2014 picture is very, very snapshotty. File:Angela Davis at Oregon State University.jpg (from 2019) is much better, but cuts off the top of her head. A Flickr search with appropriate filters for licensing gets some that are at least a bit better than the existing 2014 option, like or but they do have certain issues with intruding podiums and microphones.

Basically, there's nothing wrong in principle with using a recent image, but one of the big goals of images in articles is providing images suitable for reuse. As such, prioritising good quality images earlier in the article is important, and having a good-quality lead will encourage people to dig further. And, of course, where possible, you want all the best quality images of the subject in the article.

Also, switching in the 2014 without keeping the one good image we have of her in the article, and also not removing the other copy of the 2014 image so that it now appears twice doesn't help our readers. It gives double emphasis to a mediocre picture of her, and, since it's been removed from the article, buries a really good quality older photo.

Finally, and of uncertain significance, her autobiography uses a circa 1970 photo of her, which seems significant, but, y'know. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.5% of all FPs. 16:11, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the current photo from the 70s is fine since it was perhaps the height of her significance as a figure. Would something like a side-by-side with a 70s photo and a 2020s photo work, though? Just curious. 4kbw9Df3Tw (talk) 16:53, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@4kbw9Df3Tw: I'd say that's not a bad idea, if we have a sufficiently good 2020s photo. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.5% of all FPs. 07:23, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a general principle, I favor high quality images that show people at the top of their game and the height of their fame as lead images. Accordingly, I support the 1970 Bernard Gotfryd photo as the lead image. I see no good reason to deviate from common practice with a side-by-side pair of images. Cullen328 (talk) 07:32, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I first saw the new image, I thought Davis had died. It's a little unusual to use such a dated image of her when she is still alive, especially when we have a more recent and accurate image of her. GuardianH (talk) 21:29, 8 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@GuardianH: I mean, they're both accurate, just to different periods, and, as I said, this image is similar to the (presumably unfree) one she chose for her autobiography. But the problem I have is that the more recent ones have some problems. Of them, the best is the 2019, but that's artifically black and white, and cuts off her hair. 2014 is kind of mediocre: Not terrible or anything, but very snapshotty, with questionable composition and rather blurry - shouldn't it at least have more detail than the 1974 photo given camera advances? Meanwhile, 2006 is just bad composition, especially the black shirt and black background creating a floating hand.
One purpose of Wikipedia articles is to help direct people to good-quality, free-use images of a person, so we should make the really good ones as prominent as possible, because once someone sees the first image is good, they're more likely to check the other ones out for usage. But if we start with a more amateurish image, it sets a tone, and may send people away from us to look elsewhere for images. Mind, that's all my theory of it.
So, basically, I have absolutely no objection in principle to a modern image of her, I just want it to start with a good image of her. If we can find a really good modern image of her, well, I'd like to keep the Gotfryd image in the article - I do think it's valuable - but I have no objection of it being moved to, say, Angela Davis#Later academic career just before the pro-Communist party poster, and the new image being put into the lead. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.5% of all FPs. 07:32, 10 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gotfryd is best for the lead. Johnbod (talk) 02:16, 13 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]