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How Angela Davis Ended Up on the FBI Most Wanted List

On August 18, 1970, Angela Yvonne Davis became the third woman ever placed on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, sought for her supposed involvement in kidnappings and murders growing out of an armed seizure of a Marin County Courthouse in California. Until her arrest two months later, photos of the 26-year-old university professor and activist with her iconic Afro hairstyle appeared on an FBI poster along with a warning that she should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

Davis’s arrest was followed by a 16-month incarceration and a huge global campaign to “Free Angela Davis,” leading to her acquittal in 1972. An acclaimed author, academic and advocate for prison reform, Davis has since described those two years as a “formative” period for what became her lifelong work.

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