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Soviet-era icon, U.S. radical Angela Davis turns 65


MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - Angela Davis, famous in the Soviet Union and today's Russia as a revolutionary firebrand but virtually forgotten in her U.S. homeland, turned 65 on Monday.

A radical feminist, member of the Black Panther party and owner of a spectacular afro hairstyle, Davis was put on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List in 1970 after fleeing police when a gun used in a fatal court shootout to free a black convict was found to have been registered in her name. She was captured after two months on the run. However, she was freed and acquitted some 18 months later after charges against her were dismissed.

In the Soviet Union, her cause was taken up by the Communist Party, and the phrase, "Freedom for Angela Davis!" became a popular slogan. During her incarceration, thousands of Soviet schoolchildren wrote to then-U.S. President Richard Nixon asking him to free the country's newest idol. A committed communist, she was also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

In the West, her cause was backed by a number of famous musicians, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Davis's name often crops up in modern Russian pop culture as an ironic reference to Soviet policies. She is now a professor at the University of California and is no longer a supporter of communism.

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