Purpose of the lesson:

Despite the gains achieved by the Civil Rights Movement by the early 1960’s, a growing number of young

activists began to doubt that nonviolent tactics would address their daily realities of unemployment, inferior

education, discrimination and police brutality. These activists grew more and more powerful, until they came

to dominate the Civil Rights Movement agenda in the late 1960’s. In this lesson plan, you will learn about

how Angela Davis, a prominent leader of the Black Power Movement, gained a critical perspective on

liberation by articulating the connections between gender, racial and economic oppression. You will

pitch a documentary film in which they investigate the connections between multiple issues of social injustice


Let's talk about what the following statements mean:

  1. Anti-imperialism: opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people

  2. with a different language or culture. It also includes people opposing the expansion of a country

  3. beyond earlier borders.

  4. Black Power: a movement among Black Americans emphasizing racial pride and social equality

  5. through the creation of Black political and cultural institutions.

  6. Social injustice: concept relating to the claimed unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of

  7. rewards and burdens and other incidental inequalities.

  8. Liberation: to set free, especially from imprisonment or oppression.

  9. Oppression: the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel or unjust manner.

  10. Racism: the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination.

  11. Sexism: prejudice/discrimination based on sex, behavior or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles

Please let me explain- that by the early 1960’s, the Civil Rights Movement had achieved several major

goals: the desegregation of schools and public transportation, and the passage of the Civil Rights and

Voting Rights Acts. But many African-Americans, especially those living in urban areas of the North

and West, discovered that the nonviolent tactics of the Civil Rights Movement had not done enough to

change the harsh realities of their daily lives, including poverty, police brutality, racism, unemployment

and housing discrimination. Their frustration spawned a shift from an integration-oriented movement

to a movement with an emphasis on self-determination and community development.


Angela Davis was an international symbol of Black liberation struggle in the early 1970’s. As a leader and a woman, Davis stressed the importance of

exploring the interconnections between different systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism,

and economic inequality. While Davis was organizing on behalf of three black prisoners accused

of murder, Davis herself wound up arrested, charged with criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and first degree

murder. When her trial opened in March 1972, reporters from all over the world came to cover

the proceedings. In response, a massive worldwide movement rallied to free her from jail, deepening

her commitment to making connections to multiple forms of oppression, nationally and internationally.


12. The more the movement for my freedom increased in numbers, strength and confidence, the more

imperative it became for everyone to see it not as something exceptional, but as a small part of a

great fight against injustice, one in bough in a solidly rooted tree of resistance. It was not only political

repression, but racism, poverty, police brutality, drugs and all the myriad ways black, brown, yellow,

and white working people are kept chained to misery and despair.” Angela Davis


Explain to me this statement in your own words.

Why do you think those who rallied to support Angela Davis began to see her freedom in connection

with other issues of injustice?


13.  What do you think the connection is between repression, racism, poverty, police brutality and drugs?


14. Angela Davis has also said “People often ask me, which is more important... to be Black or to be a

woman. I can’t separate the two. For me, my struggle for women’s emancipation reflects my fight

for Black emancipation and vice versa.” What do you think she meant by that? How are racism and

sexism interconnected?


15.What kinds of challenges could arise when trying to form connections between movements and

groups such as African-Americans and Vietnamese freedom fighters in the 1960’s? What kinds of

strategies would be needed in order for these groups to discover the commonalities between them?

16. People what movement would you support - immigration - legalize drugs - etc.

Directions: As you watch the film module, take notes by answering the questions below:

16. Which areas of the world pledged support for Angela Davis while she was in prison?

17. What was Davis accused of?

18. Describe Davis’ educational background:

19. How did the racist-driven murders of Davis’ childhood aquaintences contribute to her thoughts about violence?

19. How does Erykah Badu describe Davis’ impact?

20. How did Davis’ book, ‘Are Prisons Obselete?’ affect John Forte while he was incarcerated?

21. What are some of the calls to action that Davis makes during her speech?

22. What does Davis describe is a positive outcome of her trial?

Before a documentary film gets made, a filmmaker has to present a rationale (a reason) for the project.

This process is called ‘the pitch’. What injustice would you like to explore in your Multi-media class today! Complete a short vides, develop a pod-cast, develop a 10 slide power point? Name your media and complete this by Friday.

List the set of injustices that your group investigating:

Please Explain how these injustices are connected to one another:

How do these injustices affect your community? List examples/statistics. How will you portray this?

How do these injustices affect the rest of the country? List specific examples/statistics. How will you portray this?

How do these injustices affect the rest of the world? How will you portray this in your documentary?

What is the main message that you wish to get across in your documentary?

Who would you want to interview? Explain how each interviewee will help you convey your message:

What questions will you ask?

List the locations (cities, states, countries) that you will visit to film the documentary:

Why is it important to make this documentary?

Angela Davis at the San Rafael County Prison, 1972