The Meaning of Freedom

The Meaning of Freedom
And Other Difficult Dialogues
Introduction by Robin D.G. Kelley




Press Reviews

The Journal of African American History

"What we learn from The Meaning of Freedom is that Davis has been a dedicated scholar-activist since 1969, championing social justice initiatives and challenging the notions of freedom and democracy that are not inclusive of all peoples. Davis admits that sometimes we fight the same battles over and over, but in the process of struggling together new possibilities arise."

—Fenobia I. Dallas


Make/Shift Magazine

"Davis is careful to bring current, pressing, and local issues into each of her speeches. The same undergirding of what the Combahee River Collective called 'interlocking' oppressions organizes not only her speeches but also her responses to audience members included in the book, providing some of the richest moments in the collection." —Alexis Pauline Gumbs


San Francisco Chronicle

"The 12 speeches delivered between 1994 and 2009, and collected here for the first time, provide as good an entry point as any into the radical life and ideas of the political activist and thinker Angela Davis."

—Thomas Chatterton Williams


Fellowship Magazine

"I'm only a few pages into this book, but I am already convinced of its importance. Angela Davis is, of course, one of the most significant radical philosopher-academic-activists of the past half-century, and her outline of the prison-industrial complex has been a template for justice-makers. Her first book in seven years is a collection of previously-unpublished speeches, drawn from a 15-year period, and it confronts the intersections of oppressions in our society — with particular focus on the demonic role of the incarceration/punishment industry, as one should expect."


SF Weekly: Read Local

"Angela Davis has devoted her career to this fundamental question of freedom, and its seemingly inherent other, oppression. The need for social change in America is great, but constantly thwarted by institutional injustice. Davis is calling for real democracy, which comes not from any law or proclamation, but by participatory social process."

—Alexis Coe


Booklist Online

"This book is a collection of Davis' lectures from 1994 through 2009, interweaving themes of freedom and bias based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Davis is at her best linking these perceptively separate segments into a broader concept of freedom across all the lines that separate us."

—Vernon Ford


Bust Magazine

"Angela Y. Davis proves that it's still possible to find a new, refreshing way to discuss race, gender, class, and sexuality. In this heartfelt examination through previously unpublished speeches, Davis discusses these issues with simple language and challenges us to think about how feminism and racism relate to our everyday lives."

—Bust Magazine


Ms. Magazine

"In this collection of 12 previously unpublished speeches, the longtime activist asks readers to imagine a social landscape devoid of institutional and cultural injustice. Freedom is a process of becoming, she asserts; it can't be fully realized without collective participation by a demanding society."

—Ms. Magazine, Fall 2012 Issue


San Jose Mercury News

"As always, Davis is particularly concerned with the prison-industrial complex, yet her thoughts on marriage equality, immigration and globalization are just as  thought-provoking."

—Georgia Rowe


Ebony.com

"This document of contemporary thought by a major world-historical figure, Davis' first full-length book in almost a decade, makes it timelessly clear that while no freedom fight will ever be easy—'We can't rely on simple categories'—every real triumph, however small and short-lived, will always be worth it."

—Todd Steven Burroughs