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Is the quote posted at the Barclays Center transit entrance really from Angela Davis? (It's common, but not sourced.)

Note: before publication, I sent a query to Angela Davis at the only email address I could find. I didn't get a response. (Added 8/4/20.)

On 7/8/20, I wrote an article for Bklyner, How an Angela Davis Quote Wound Up at the Barclays Center Subway Entrance.

The article noted that the plaza entrance, instead of advertising, offered a stark black-and-white quote, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I can no longer accept,” attributed to “Angela Davis, American Political Activist, Educator, and Author.”


Now researcher Barry Popik, known as a contributor to various dictionaries, makes a strong case that the quote, while frequently attributed to Davis in books and on the web, is not from her. He notes that Wikiquote has it as unsourced.

I hadn't researched it thoroughly--I was more curious about how the quote got there. So until further information surfaces, it does not seem a legitimately sourced quote.

Likely one of the best-known examples comes from the 2/25/19 tweet below from the rapper, actor, and activist Common, which includes the quote. However, the video snippet from the panel, posted by Common on Facebook and Twitter, including Davis does not include the quote.
Nor did Davis state the quote during the full panel. (Here's another tweet from Common with the quote.)

Other examples

I had seen the quote on this University of California Berkeley page, 400 Years of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice, excerpted at right, and thus didn't have suspicions.

A web search shows that the quote has appeared on numerous sites--here's a library collecting protest signs, here are several books--usually not connected to any official academic source.

However, as shown in the screenshot at left, the gift shop of New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture--"one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences"--offers an Angela Davis magnet with that quote.

That's not quite the same as an official presentation from the library.

The quote also appears on a Facebook post promoting the civil rights documentary 13th.

Comments

  1. There are millions of Twitter users, and they write down short passages like this. It has been on Twitter since 2010. The first credit to Angela Davis is March 2013. It is time for Angela Davis to make a public statement about it--provide evidence (Twitter, Facebook, newspaper article, book, none of which I could find), or admit that she did not originate it. You would think that institutions would do this before they use a quote like this, but they do not.

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