Created by
Jarrell, Wadsworth Aikens Sr., American, born 1929
Subject of
Davis, Angela Y., American, born 1944
printing ink on paper
H x W: 37 1/2 × 31 in. (95.3 × 78.7 cm)
"I have given my life to the struggle. My life belongs to the struggle. If I have to lose my life in the struggle, well, then, that’s the way it will have to be." — Angela Davis
Revolutionary is a tribute to political and social activist Angela Davis. The portrait is formed through a complex and dynamic arrangement of color and words. The words were taken from speeches given by Davis for the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee and an interview published in the September 11, 1970, issue of Life magazine. The image was inspired by Dan O’Neil’s photograph, also featured in the magazine.
The letter “B,” repeated throughout the composition, simultaneously represents the word “Bad” and the phrase “Black is beautiful.”
This print depicts Angela Davis, a major figure in the fight for civil rights, in a state of impassioned speech. Davis' face and figure is formed out of strings of brilliantly colored letters, some of which form words. These letters are generated from a central point and radiate outward. The multiple colors and shading of these letters create the planes and contours that make up Davis' face, hair, and upper torso. Viewed from below, she is a monumental figure, head thrust forward, with open mouth. Her right hand, holding a microphone or walkie-talkie, is held up near her mouth. She wears a pink jacket that fastens along the left side. The jacket hem is edged by a red cartridge bandolier.
Place made
Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
Visual Arts
screen prints
Civil rights
Local and regional
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© Wadsworth Jarrell
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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