With the excitement surrounding the most anticipated film of the year, Black Panther, and the honour of BlackHistoryMonth, we look back at one of the original Black Panthers, Angel Davis, through the lens of Shola Lynch’s Free Angela and All Political Prisoners documentary.

As the audience settle into this captivating documentary about the fight for justice and equality, they might hear one or two footsteps hurriedly entering the theatre, eager not to miss not even the intro credits.

Protagonist or antagonist, however you want to perceive her, Angela Davis was more than your ordinary political activist. Known publicly for her interest and later involvement with Communist civil rights party, Black Panther, 1970s Nixon-America saw her as a Lioness figure who needed to be tamed.

During a tumultuous and racially-divided period in a predominantly White America, revolutionist Davis finds herself “eager to be a part of the Black Power movement” – an eagerness that eventually leads to her name being listed on the FBI’s top ten most wanted.

Most significantly, the primary focal point of Free Angela is Davis’ trial – for her part during the infamous hostile takeover of a Marin County, California, courtroom in 1970 – which tested her strength and will.

Nonetheless, loved and adored by not only the black community but also the young white circle, the public saw Davis as an icon and a sister. African-American filmmaker, Lynch, masterfully provides the audience with plenty of knowledge which they are able to consume without feeling overwhelmed.

Raw, gritty, and enriching, director Shola Lynch and crew do a commending job in piecing together various materials to create such an insightful and educational account of Davis’ life.

With police brutality against black civilians in America very much a hot topic today, the documentation of political and social injustice shown within the documentary offers reflection on how much, or how little, racial equality progress – in the country so famously known as the land of the free – has occurred.

Powerful and thought provoking, Free Angela is a narrative which should be displayed at all Universities around the country. Considering it is Black History Month, what better time for it to be shown?

A film for the people; it’s due time for Davis’ story and her struggle against adversity to be held in as high esteem as that of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. and human rights activist, Malcolm X.

Free Angela is gripping till the last moment. As the end credits appear, you hear what sounds like sighs of fatigue as though the audience have just survived drowning in a sea of knowledge.

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is a gripping tale of young university professor Angela Davis and her fight for political and social justice, race equality and liberty for people of colour.

Timmy Odejimi
Posted by:Timmy Odejimi