EXCLUSIVE: Angela Davis Remembers The Year That Changed Her Life in New Documentary

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty
The new documentary—executive produced by Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z—Free Angela and All Political Prisoners explores the explosive year Davis spent on trial for murder.

There was a precise moment when filmmaker Shola Lynch was interviewing Angela Davis when all the iconography around her—the raised fist, the Afro, the FBI Most Wanted posters—receded into the background, and she became Angela, a woman in love.

As Davis described the first time she met fellow freedom fighter and "Soledad Brother" George Jackson in person, her professorial aloofness melted. "She fixes her hair and pats it," recalls Lynch, who researched Davis's story for eight years. "She's shy. So I really had to listen and watch to appreciate what she had given me and what she shared."

Until she agreed to participate in Lynch's riveting new documentary, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, opening April 5 in select cities, Davis had avoided talking about the affair that was key to the government's 1972 murder conspiracy case against her. "Emotional relationships are really important when your freedom is so restricted," Davis says of the bond she shared with Jackson. "So that relationship was very important to me."

George Jackson was one third of the Soledad Brothers, a cause célèbre for 1970's leftists. Among their many supporters was Davis, then 26, a professor who had been fired from UCLA. Her crime? Being a communist.

was just really impatient," Davis says wistfully. "He was not willing to wait to see the results of the movement we were building."

RELATED: Sidra Smith on Producing New Angela Davis Doc

Catch Free Angela and All Political Prisoners this Friday, April 5 in select cities.

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