Angela Davis is one of the most well-known political activists of all time. An academic and author, Davis was deeply involved with the Civil Rights Movement and Communist Party activism of the 1960s and 1970s. She was arrested in 1970 for conspiracy to murder following several deaths during a hostile courtroom takeover in Marin County – a crime for which she was not present. Police stated that the guns used in the takeover were registered in her name. Her friend and lover, George Jackson, was killed in the incident. Davis was on the run for 3 months (during which time she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list) before she was captured and imprisoned. She spent a total of 16 months in jail. The public was torn – many loathed her, yet many others adored her and rallied together to support her. She was eventually acquitted of all charges.
In the years since, Davis has written and spoken on Marxism, feminist theory, and the Prison Industrial Complex. She has strongly advocated for the abolishment of all prisons in the U.S. and has noted how corrupt and inhumane the U.S. prison system is. She has published several books and held various prestigious academic positions, including Professor Emerita in UC Santa Cruz’s History of Consciousness department.
I chose to focus on Angela Davis in “Episode 10 – Fried Eggs and Polkagris” because at the time I was fundraising for a charity ride called Nola to Angola (check it out!). The proceeds from the ride go the Cornerstone Builders Bus Project, an amazing organization that provides folks across the state of Louisiana with transportation so that they can visit their incarcerated loved ones. The fundraiser is now over, but you can donate to the Cornerstone Bus Builders Project at any time here.
What did people do in the 1800’s? They died. Literally everyone just died of anything and everything. Amalia’s parents and all 5 of her siblings died of cholera when she was 10 years old. Later in life, she gets married and has twin daughters, one a stillborn. Shortly after, her husband dies from dysentery, and now Amalia is alone with a newborn child, no husband, and no family. The grim reaper was not fucking around in the 1800’s.
One day, Amalia’s daughter comes down with a sickness but Amalia did not have the funds to buy her proper medicine. So what does she do? She heads to the kitchen and makes shit happen. Amalia combined peppermint oil, vinegar, and sugar in hopes her DIY formula would help cure her last living family member. While it wasn’t actually medicinal, Amalia’s medicine was so good her daughter gobbled it right up! BOOM! Amalia just found her million dollar idea.
BUT WAIT… it’s the 1800’s and people are dropping like flies and women SURE AS FUCK aren’t owning their own businesses. So what does Amalia do? She petitions the Swedish town council to allow her to open her own bakery and sweets shop. She began selling her minty creation, which came to be called “polkagris” which evolved into a candy we know as the candy cane. Step aside Santa, will the real Mrs. Claus please stand up. I see you Amalia, you out huuurrr snatchin’ up businesses and changin’ laws.
Thanks to Polkaris, Amalia became extremely wealthy and is regarded as one of the most important people in Granna, Sweden. Not only did Amalia turn her life around from total despair to success, she resisted poverty in a society that privileged men, AND she outlived the entire 1800’s fighting the good fight up until 99 years old!
Fuck, hand me a candy cane… otherwise known as “Polka-lives”.
Check out the full story + where you can purchase polkagris today in “Episode 10 – Fried Eggs and Polkagris”.