Civil-rights icon and prisoners’-rights advocate Angela Davis to speak at Bryn Mawr Feb. 4

Posted January 28th, 2009 at 3:18 pm.

Scholar, political activist, and philosopher Angela Davis will give the keynote address for Black History Month at Bryn Mawr. Her presentation, titled “Democracy, Social Change, and Civil Engagement,” will take place in Bryn Mawr’s Thomas Great Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Bryn Mawr College Office of Intercultural Affairs at 610-526-6594.

With her provocative rhetorical style, signature afro, and trenchant criticism of social inequality, Davis became the female personification of Black Power and an inspiration to civil-rights advocates and feminists around the world during the 1970s.

Davis first made headlines in 1969 after being removed from her teaching position in the philosophy department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA.

She achieved nationwide notoriety in 1970. She was placed on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list when a shotgun registered in her name was used during a courthouse escape attempt that left a California judge dead and a state prosecutor paralyzed. Davis fled California after being charged as an accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide. She was eventually captured in New York and in 1972 was tried and acquitted of all charges.

“If Angela Davis were not Angela Davis, she would never have been prosecuted,” said Davis’ defense attorney at the time of the acquittal.

Davis’ 18 months in jail and on trial left an indelible mark on her. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She is one of the primary founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison-industrial complex.

Her teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She has also taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She has spent the last 15 years at UC Santa Cruz, where she is professor of history of consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and professor of feminist studies.

Davis is the author of eight books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.

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