An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis

Thursday 6th May | 5:30-7:00pm BST | Zoom 

Our penultimate meeting will look at James Baldwin's 1971 open letter, published in The New York Review, to Angela Davis. The letter was written by Baldwin to an imprisoned Davis in 1970, where she was being wrongfully held in relation to a courtroom shooting in California where three men and a judge died. She was acquitted in a federal trial in 1972. The letter is written in solidarity with Davis and addresses being black in America, American whiteness, intergenerationality and the American prison system. If you would like to hear Baldwin read the letter, it is available here (from 15:21 on).

Alongside the letter, we have chosen to discuss a short section of Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003) by Angela Davis. In the second chapter, titled 'Slavery, Civil Rights, and Abolitionist Perspectives Toward Prison' (pp. 22-39), Davis contextualises her discussion of prisons within the history of antiblack racism and injustice in the US, from chattel slavery to segregation. In doing so, she is able to pose the question of prison abolition by relating it to the organised social movements that worked to abolish past systems of racialised oppression. 

If you would like to attend this meeting on 6th May, please email for the Zoom link. 


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