Image Source: “Finding Your Roots,” McGee Media LLC

When Angela Davis’s name is mentioned in a room, activism first comes to mind. In many circles, Davis is known as a civil rights icon. Her well-known membership with the Black Panther Party has made her an often centerpiece of conversation.  in some cases, she’s seen as a symbol of Black Power and in others of radicalism. And it is an undeniable truth that in some societal circles, the mere mention of Davis’s name comes with a fair share of infamy. The activist is also known for her association with the Soledad Brothers, leading her to become a target of the FBI.

Without a doubt, Davis’ life has been one of inspiration. She has inspired so much and so many in various ways, Surely, she was born to make an impact. And her contributions are endless. Davis continues to serve as a societal contributor sharing a wealth of knowledge as a professor, as author, and community organizer. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “Her interests in prisoner rights led her to found Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex.”

Davis Receives Startling News

Recently Davis was shocked by some very startling news, and the world watched as she received it. Rapt she sat as Henry Louis Gates Jr., the host of Finding your Roots, made the revelation. It was a most surprising moment when Davis discovered roots reaching deep into the fresh soils of the new Americas. unbelievably one of Davis’ ancestors was numbered among the passengers on the Mayflower. According to Vibe, a 79-year-old Davis sat stunned as this was read, “You are descended from one of the 101 people who sailed on the Mayflower.”

Her 10th great-grandfather, named William Brewster, was revealed to be one of the first settlers in America.

Davis’s Reaction Proves You Never Know

Understandably, this was extremely shocking news for the activist. As she sat absorbing all the information, all she could do was shake her head in disbelief, issuing a steady stream of “No’s,” as she absorbed the intriguing revelation. That day, she learned of her lineage and deeper connections to the country’s founding, for which she has waged her activism.


No one can deny that anyone would be shocked by such news. But discovering such gives resounding emphasis to such works as Langston Hughes penned in 1926, “I Too Am America.” As Davis’ discovery exemplifies, although her connections are through genealogical ties, America belongs to us all.

Written by: Renae Richardson

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