Her face was on the cover of Life magazine and it was on television. Hiding out in Miami she watched one of those shows on television where the FBI saves the day at the end in some big shoot out. She imagined it was her getting killed. Just then her picture appeared on television and a deep voice said:
Angela Davis is one of the FBI’s ten most wanted criminials. She is wanted for the crimes of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. She is very likely armed so if you see her, do not try to do anything. Contact your local FBI immediately.
Her gun had been used to kill a judge. That made her party to murder. Once she left California and crossed state lines that brought in the FBI.
She says it had little to do with the gun or her flight: the government was looking for an excuse to come after her to weaken black power. Ronald Reagan, the governor, had already fired her from UCLA for being a communist.
When she heard about the judge getting killed she did not return home. She laid low for a few days in Los Angeles and then was driven in the night by a showgirl to Las Vegas. There she caught a flight to Chicago and got to a friend, David Poindexter, before the FBI did. They went to Detroit, New York, Miami and then back to New York.
One by one the FBI found each of her friends and relations, except for Poindexter, and kept a close watch on each one.
In New York Davis and Poindexter stayed in room 702 at the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge at 861 Eighth Avenue at 51st Street. They made a striking couple. Her picture was everywhere. A man noticed her in Times Square even though she was not wearing her trademark Afro and looked kind of Puerto Rican.
That night when they returned to their room the door opposite opened and an arm came out and took hold of her. It was the FBI. The man asked, “Angela Davis? Are you Angela Davis?” She said nothing but soon her fingerprints proved that they had found her at last.
They took her to the Women’s House of Detention at Greenwich Avenue and 10th Street. When she was 15 she had walked passed that prison every day on the way to school, acting like she could not hear the women inside screaming. Now she would be one of those women.
They put her in with the madwomen. They gave her wrinkled hot dogs and cold potatoes to eat. If found guilty of the charges she could be sentenced to death. Yet she felt better than she had in a long time: if she listened carefully she could hear the people outside protesting for her.