Political activist Angela Davis to keynote MLK Symposium


Activist, educator and author Angela Davis will deliver the 34th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium keynote memorial lecture.

Davis’ talk will take place at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 in Hill Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo of Angela Davis
Angela Davis

“We are extremely pleased that such an extraordinary leader and educator will join us for this special day of commemoration,” said Lumas J. Helaire, associate director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. “Dr. Davis is uniquely poised to speak to our community about the drive and ability to advocate for equality and justice.”

The keynote is co-sponsored by OAMI under the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Michigan Athletics and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, with support from the William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Fund.

Davis, 75, is a distinguished professor emerita in the departments of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She became a nationally recognized activist in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party with close relations to the Black Panther Party.

She came to national attention in 1969 after being removed from her teaching position in the philosophy department at the University of California, Los Angeles as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, according to UCSC.

In 1970, she was placed on the Ten Most Wanted list after being charged with purchasing a shotgun used to kill a Marin County, California, judge. She was acquitted in 1972.

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

The theme of the 2020 MLK Symposium is “The (Mis)Education of US,” a topic that Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, said calls on community members to uplift the narrative of those who are traditionally marginalized or left out, and in doing so emphasizes the rich variability within the groups that makes us all human.


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