Angela Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, scholar, and author. Davis emerged as a nationally prominent activist in the 1960s, when she was associated with the Communist Party USA, the Black Panther Party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of "Critical Resistance", an organization working to abolish what she views as the prison-industrial complex. She is a retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is the former director of the university's Feminist Studies department. Her research interests are in feminism, African American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music and social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan's request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California.