She Won An Acquittal After Being Blamed For A Courthouse Shootout

black and white photo of angela with fist resting underneath her chin
Briona Lamback
June 1, 2022

On June 4, 1972, activist, philosopher, and educator Angela Davis was acquitted on charges of conspiracy, murder, and kidnapping in connection with a courthouse shootout that took place during the controversial trial of the Soledad Brothers.

She was one of the FBI’s “Most Wanted!” How did she beat the case?

Davis was arrested in New York City on October 13, 1970, after being accused of supplying weapons to Jonathan Jackson, the 17-year-old brother of George Jackson, a Black Panther who was falsely accused of killing a white prison guard. 

On August 7, 1970, Jonathan Jackson burst into the courtroom and took hostages, who he hoped to exchange for his brother – but failed and was gunned down.

During the trial, Davis worked with the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee to free the men of their wrongful convictions – but it was discovered that the guns used in the shootout were registered under Davis' name.

Only the third woman ever listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List, the government tried to make up evidence against the activist, labeling her a "dangerous terrorist" for her involvement in the shooting. 

But their “evidence” didn’t stand up in court!

After her acquittal, Davis pursued scholarship as a professor at many universities, and even started her own political party. Davis has continued to use her platform to advocate for Black liberation internationally.

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