The institution has attained images, letters, and papers that illustrate the breadth of Davis’ work related to activism and details her involvement with the Communist Party as well as the Black Panther Party. The Schlesinger Library teamed up with the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research to acquire Davis’ work.
The director of the library, Jane Kamensky, says that she believes Davis’ collection will serve as a source of inspiration for scholars and will ignite thought-provoking conversations. According to the Harvard Gazette, amongst the pieces that will be featured at the library will be an autobiography manuscript penned by Davis and edited by renowned author Toni Morrison, recordings from her radio show “Angela Speaks,” and photos that Davis took along her activism journey.
Five years ago, the library identified Davis as one of the individuals whose work they wanted to harbor and its first curator for race and ethnicity, Kenvi Phillips, began collecting her pieces in 2016. The library is proud to be able to bring this project to fruition. “Angela Davis has always been a pivotal figure in terms of the development of criminal justice reform activism,” Elizabeth Hinton, an assistant professor of history and of African and African American studies, told the news outlet. “That will make history come alive for generations of students and hopefully inspire them to pursue social justice goals even after they leave Harvard’s campus.”
Davis is humbled that the library has decided to include her body of work. “My papers reflect 50 years of involvement in activist and scholarly collaborations seeking to expand the reach of justice in the world,” she said in a statement. “I am very happy that at the Schlesinger Library they will join those of June Jordan, Patricia Williams, Pat Parker, and so many other women who have been advocates of social transformation.”
The collection will be digitized this year and featured in a 2019 exhibition.