Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement
An On-line Archival Collection
Special Collections Library, Duke University
n.d., newsclipping [from off our backs?]
Hundreds of enraged people Black, brown, white, many gay-gathered in front of the Women's House of Detention in New York's Greenwich Village on October 13, within a half hour of Angela Davis' arrest in a midtown motor hotel.
Angela, the revolutionary black philosophy professor, who evaded a nationwide police dragnet for two months, had become the third woman in history to appear on the FBI's ten most wanted list when she was linked to Jonathan Jackson's attempt to liberate several prisoners from the Marin County courthouse. The guns with which the young revolutionary armed the prisoners were claimed to be registered in Angela’s name. On that basis, California authorities charged Angela with murder and kidnapping, even though she was nowhere near the Marin County scene.
Prisoners in the grim, ugly, women's jail responded to the chants and picketing with clenched fists and shouts of right on. The sisters and brothers on the street below, ignoring the lines of helmeted Tactical Police Force pigs, raised their fists to the silhouetted shadows in the prison windows and chanted, "Free our sisters! Free Angela! Power to the people!""Power," came yells from the jail.
"Seize the jail! Tear it down!" replied the demonstrators. The eerie, high-pitched cries, made famous by Algerian women, filled the air.
Prison officials turned off the lights hoping darkness would quiet the prisoners, but the sisters lit matches and burned flammable materials they found in their cells. The crowd roared as they saw the flames.
Next morning, about 300 people again gathered outside the federal courthouse for the arraignment of Angela and David Poindexter who was arrested with her and charged with harboring a fugitive. A caravan of seven unmarked cars brought them to the heavily guarded courthouse along a route apprehensively staked out by the FBI. Inside the building, federal marshals announcedto a crowd that had been waiting for hours that only 14 people plus press would be allowed to attend the preliminary hearing before the US Commissioner. Plainclothes pigs searched everyone who entered.
The hearing was soley to set bail on the charge of "Unlawful flight to avoid prosecution" for Angela and "Harboring a fugitive" for David Poindexter. But the aged Commissioner had made clear that he was basing his decision on the California case. When the US attorney asked for $250,000 bail for Angela and $100,000 for Poindexter, the Commissioner immediately granted it.
Defense attorneys pointed out that Angela was only charged here with violating the fugitive statute which has a maximum penalty of $500 and 5 years, and added that Angela had not participated in the California events, but at most might have purchased the guns.
As Angela left the room under heavy guard, people crowded around her, and one sister called out, "Angela, w love you. Everybody loves you from coast to coast. We're gonna free you." Angela smiled.
[Ed. note: After Angela's arraignment, she was taken back to the Women’s House of Detention. Later that night, she was suddenly brought down to the office of the US Commissioner where they went throug the formality of dropping the New York charges of illegal flight to avoid prosecution, cancelling the $250,000 bail and releasing her on her own recognizance. Then went so far in their game as to take off her Federal handcuffs. Seconds later they pulled out the California charges of murder and kidnapping which had arrived by courier. She was re-arrested, and the state handcuffs were clapped on her wrists. There was no bail because murder and kidnapping are capital offenses. The New York charge was only used as a holding action to keep her in custody.]
-liberation news service
"ANGELA, SISTER, YOU ARE WELCOME IN THIS HOUSE" -sign in windows all over the US
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