Posts tagged with "civil rights activist"

OTD: Civil Rights Icon Angela Davis Acquitted of All Charges in 1972

On June 4, 1972, Angela Davis was acquitted of all charges related to a 1970 courthouse shootout that left four people dead. Davis, a prominent civil rights activist and member of the Black Panther Party, was accused of providing the guns used in the shootout, which occurred during an attempt to free three inmates from the Marin County Courthouse in San Rafael, California.

The trial of Angela Davis was a major event in the civil rights movement of the 1970s. Davis’ acquittal was seen as a victory for the movement, and she became a symbol of the struggle for justice.

Background of the Case

In 1970, Davis was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She was also a member of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary organization that advocated for the self-defense of African Americans.

On August 7, 1970, three inmates—Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, and James McClain—attempted to escape from the Marin County Courthouse. During the escape attempt, a shootout occurred between the inmates and the police. Four people were killed in the shootout, including Judge Harold Haley, inmate Jonathan Jackson, and two jurors.

Davis was not present at the shootout, but she was accused of providing the guns used in the escape attempt. She was arrested on October 13, 1970, and charged with conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

The Trial

Davis’ trial began on March 8, 1972. The prosecution presented evidence that Davis had purchased the guns used in the escape attempt and that she had been in contact with the inmates involved in the shootout.

Davis’ defense team argued that she was not involved in the escape attempt and that the prosecution’s case was based on circumstantial evidence. They also argued that Davis was a political prisoner and that her trial was politically motivated.

The Verdict

After a three-month trial, the jury acquitted Davis of all charges on June 4, 1972. The acquittal was a major victory for the civil rights movement and for Davis herself.

The Aftermath

After her acquittal, Davis continued to be a prominent civil rights activist. She has written several books and has lectured extensively on issues of race, gender, and class. She is also a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Davis’ acquittal is a reminder of the importance of the civil rights movement in the United States. It is also a reminder of the power of the people to fight for justice.