The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis

The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis

The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis

The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis


On August 7, 1970, a revolt by Black prisoners in a Marin County courthouse stunned the nation. In its aftermath, Angela Davis, an African American activist-scholar who had campaigned vigorously for prisoners' rights, was placed on the FBI's "ten most wanted list." Captured in New York City two months later, she was charged with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. Her trial, chronicled in this "compelling tale" (Publishers Weekly), brought strong public indictment. The Morning Breaks is a riveting firsthand account of Davis's ordeal and her ultimate triumph, written by an activist in the student, civil rights, and antiwar movements who was intimately involved in the struggle for her release.

First published in 1975, and praised by The Nation for its "graphic narrative of [Davis's] legal and public fight," The Morning Breaks remains relevant today as the nation contends with the political fallout of the Sixties and the grim consequences of institutional racism. For this edition, Bettina Aptheker has provided an introduction that revisits crucial events of the late 1960s and early 1970s and puts Davis's case into the context of that time and our own-from the killings at Kent State and Jackson State to the politics of the prison system today. This book gives a first-hand account of the worldwide movement for Angela Davis's freedom and of her trial. It offers a unique historical perspective on the case and its continuing significance in the contemporary political landscape.


This book is a personal account of my experiences in the movement to free Angela Davis. I have tried to present an historically accurate record of the events leading up to her trial, and of the struggle to save her life.

The book is based upon my personal recollections and notes, as well as the files of the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis, and the transcripts of the proceedings and appeals in the trials of James McClain, Ruchell Magee, Fleeta Drumgo, John Clutchette, George Lester Jackson and Angela Davis. News stories by Mark Allen, Juan Lopez, Ellis Goldberg and Robert Kaufman in the People’s World and the Daily World between August 1970 and June 1972 were also extremely helpful.

For those who may be interested in further research or information on the Davis case, the files of the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis have been preserved in the archives of the Main Library at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. This collection includes tens of thousands of letters received by the Committee and Ms. Davis from people throughout the world. The complete transcript of the Davis trial, including all appeals and legal memoranda, have been preserved in the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Library in Berkeley, California.

I am deeply indebted to a great many people who read this manuscript in whole or in part, and offered invaluable suggestions and criticisms; and to members of the staff of the National United . . .

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