Haymarket Books will publish the third edition of An Autobiography by Black Liberation activist, feminist, and scholar Angela Davis this fall. The title has an October 19 publication date with an initial print run of 40,000 copies.
The book, which was originally edited by Toni Morrison, was first released in 1974 by Random House; the second edition was published in 1988 by International Publishers with a new introduction, in which Davis reflected on how her thinking had evolved over the 14 years between editions. The Haymarket edition, which will include the introductions to both the first and second editions, will also feature a new introduction, in which Davis again reflects upon how her thinking has evolved—this time between 1988 and 2021.
Anthony Arnove, who cofounded Haymarket 20 years ago and serves on its editorial board, acquired the autobiography for the Chicago-based radical publisher, a division of the nonprofit Center for Economic Research and Social Change. He promises that the autobiography will be given a “completely new refresh,” including a new cover. It will be published simultaneously in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook formats. As of this writing, Davis will narrate the audiobook.
According to Haymarket, Davis’s autobiography describes her journey from her childhood in Alabama "to one of the most significant political trials of the century: from her political activity in a New York high school to her work with the U.S. Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, and the Soledad Brothers; and from the faculty of the Philosophy Department at UCLA to the FBI's list of the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.” It is, Haymarket states, “a classic account of a life in struggle with echoes in our own time.”
Arnove says that he met Davis by chance in 2019 at the Women’s National Studies Association’s annual conference. “I was with [conference keynote speaker] Arundhati Roy, and Angela came up to hear her speak. We talked at a reception and out of that conversation emerged a number of projects,” he said.
In 2016 Haymarket published Davis’ Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. It also recently acquired Abolition. Feminism. Now., co-authored by Davis, Gina Dent, Erica Meiners, and Beth Richie, which will be published in July 2021. Haymarket will also publish Davis's writings on abolitionists.
It was while discussing these projects on abolitionism, Arnove said, that a proposal was made to publish a new edition of An Autobiography. “In conversations with International Publishers, we all agreed that there was an opportunity to bring this book to a new generation of readers,” Arnove explained. “Over the last year it’s been clear that there’s an audience for Angela’s ideas. Luckily, Angela felt that we could help reach those readers.”
Arnove noted that the revival of interest in Davis and her work includes a Vanity Fair special issue in September 2020 featuring an interview of Davis conducted by Ava DuVernay. Director Julie Dash also announced in 2019 that she is directing a film based on Davis’s life.