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This is an illuminating and intense autobiography by one of the most powerful voices in black revolutionary struggle.
That this book exists is incredibly fortunate, considering the young Angela Davis’ reluctance to commit her stories to autobiography, given what she called ‘the already widespread tendency to personalize and individualize history’. Opposing the exceptionalism of the individual that so often filters our historical knowledge, Davis dismisses any portrayal of herself as ‘a single Black woman who successfully fended off the repressive might of the state’. Instead, Davis makes a powerful call for the universality of struggles against oppression, a call whose renewal in recent years by movements such as Black Lives Matter cuts across the fragmentation of history and politics by individualism and identity. In Davis’ terms, ‘while one of the protagonists in this battle [is] indeed the state, the other [is] not a single individual, but rather the collective power of the thousands and thousands of people opposed to racism and political oppression’.