In 1959, Davis went to New York to broaden her educational horizons and attended the Elizabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village. She was introduced to the concept of communism here and made her think of racism and poverty.
In 1961, she attended the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachussetts. She was one of the few black students here and felt isolated psychologically. She became increasing interested in the subject of philosophy here.
In 1962, she went to Europe to be a part of the Eighth World Festival for Youth and Students in Finland. She took this up as an opportunity to meet up revolutionary scholars like herself in the festival.
After studying for a few years in the University of Frankfurt, in 1969 Davis worked as an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She became a member of the Communist Party USA and joined the Black Panther Party.
At UCLA, the Board of Regents kept trying to get Davis fired from her post because of her association with the Communist Party USA. They were finally able to do it in 1970 - Davis was fired from UCLA for using inflammatory language.
In 1971, it was claimed that Davis provided weapon in the prison to a seventeen year old black prisoner called George Jackson, who was killed in an encounter while trying to escape from the prison in San Quentin.
After this incident and charges on her, Davis went on a run and was listed in the most wanted criminals’ list by the FBI. She was arrested in New York but all the charges on her were withdrawn after the trial.
In 1972, Davis resumed teaching at the San Francisco State University, even though she was barred from teaching at big universities after charges on her.
From 1975-1977, Davis worked as the lecturer of African-American studies at the Claremont College and later went on to teach women and ethnic studies at the San Francisco University.
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In 1979, Davis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in Soviet Union and was made the honorary professor at the Moscow State University.
In 1980, she became the vice-president of the Communist Party. She urged the people of United States to revolutionize with realism and tried to convince the radicals to accumulate support for the Democratic Party.
She was again elected as the vice-president of the Communist Party in 1984 and wrote many books on activism. Her main focus of social work was the state of prisoners in the United States.
In 1995, Davis formed the African American Agenda 2000 to alliance Black Feminists after she opposed the Million Man March, opposing the absence of women from the event.
In 2003, she gave a lecture at the Agnes Scott College, talking about the unfairness of the death penalty, bringing reform in the prisons, issues of the minority in the society and the backdrops of the criminal justice system in the US.
In 2007, she started teaching 'History of Consciousness' at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was also the commencement speaker at Grinnell College.
In 2008, Davis gave a lecture at Howard University and was the closing keynote speaker at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference. She also spoke on Gender studies in College of Charleston.
In 2009, she was the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration at the Louisiana State University. She was also a speaker at the University of Virginia Carter G. Woodson.
In 2010, Davis spoke at the Trinity University, Texas on the occasion of MLK Day Celebration. She expressed her goals for shutting down prisons altogether at the conference.
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In 2012, Davis gave a Commencement Address at the Pitzer College, Claremont and was awarded with the Blue Planet Award for her work in the field of humanity and the welfare of the planet in the same year.
In 2013, she delivered a speech at Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN on the issues of prison in the United States and also spoke at the 18th Annual Building Bridges Conference.