Famous radical Angela Davis to speak at Cal State San Bernardino
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
SAN BERNARDINO - Angela Davis, the radical professor and one of the
most controversial women in California history, is scheduled to make
an address this month at Cal State San Bernardino.
"She's going to be talking on a couple of subjects, but the main
title she is going to be talking about is activism and diversity in
higher education and how change happens," said Dolores Montoya, a
student at the campus' Women's Resource Center.
Montoya also said controversy is one of the criteria she and other
students at the Women's Resource Center want when seeking out guest speakers.
Davis, listed as a professor emerita of history of consciousness and
feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz, was but one of the faces of
leftist activism in academia during the Vietnam Era.
Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan fired Davis from a teaching position at UCLA
in 1969 because of Davis' affiliation with the Communist Party. She
went to court to win her job back, according to a history recounted
in a 2007 issue of The Guardian.
The FBI also listed Davis on its 10 Most Wanted List due to her
suspected involvement in the murder of a Marin County judge. A gun
used in the killing was registered in Davis' name, but she was not
present for the crime.
A jury acquitted Davis of related charges in 1972 and she went on to
seek the vice presidency twice - running on the Communist ticket.
Davis' more recent projects include the books "Abolition Democracy"
and "Are Prisons Obsolete?"
Davis is scheduled to visit Cal State San Bernardino from noon to 2
p.m. Feb. 25 in the Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center.
GRCC speaker Angela Davis says the fight for rights continues
By Dave Murray
February 10, 2010
GRAND RAPIDS -- Slavery was never truly abolished, but takes
different forms today, says Angela Davis, who pledges to continue
fighting for people she believes remain oppressed in American society.
Davis, a former Black Panther and Communist Party candidate for vice
president, spoke to a near-capacity crowd of about 1,500 people
Wednesday at Fountain Street Church as part of Grand Rapids Community
College's Diversity Lecture Series.
"Our job is to continue to fight for a radical, socialist democracy,"
she said after a lecture lasting nearly two hours. "And we must
remain open to the possibility of fights 20 to 30 years from now for
issues we cannot even imagine in 2010."
Davis' inclusion in the series drew fire in August from college
Trustee Richard Ryskamp, who argued the series presented narrow views
and said Davis was affiliated with hate groups.
Now retired as a professor at the University of California, Santa
Cruz, Davis challenged her audience to look for groups still fighting
for their rights, including prisoners, illegal immigrants and people
in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
"Here in the 21st century, we can recognize the victories we have
won, and they are important victories," she said.
"But the struggle goes on. Our sense of freedom must be large enough
to contain the dreams and aspirations of everyone. How can we say
this one group deserves civil rights and this one does not?"
She said the country is "literally haunted by slavery," and believes
the nation passes on a distorted view of how many blacks obtained freedom.
She said the Civil War was won by the North because slaves abandoned
the plantation, withholding the labor for the Southern economy and
fought for the union.
"It was the self-liberation of a people," she said. "Many of the
narratives we hear and repeat are narratives of a great emancipator
-- someone else freeing the slaves, not blacks liberating themselves.
Abraham Lincoln is a great figure, but he was not the great
emancipator. That mythology was created in the aftermath of the Civil War."
Davis said President Obama's election "was the first time I've voted
for a Democrat -- ever," but doesn't think anyone alone could meet
the high expectations.
"For a time last year there was a collective euphoria, and we seemed
to think that because a black man was in the White House, he'd be
able to undo all the violence and history and militarism," she said.
"The problem was that we have a messiah complex. We were so excited
that we forgot that the most important thing was that a mass movement
develop and not think that he'd be able to do it on his own."
Jerry Newsome, 22, said he was inspired by Davis' work and call to action.
"We can never stop learning," he said after the lecture. "If we stop
learning, we stop growing and lose our purpose."
Davis: 'Struggle for freedom' still prevalent
By Jack Moore
February 12, 2010
Angela Davis, college professor and former Black Panther, spoke
Thursday in the Tom W. Davis Gym in the RPAC about a "struggle for
freedom" at the featured event for United Black World Month.
She said the struggle has ranged from the first slave ships to reach
American shores to the abolition of the U.S. prison system in the age of Obama.
Davis spoke for a little over an hour, touching on everything from
the philosophy of Marx and Hegel to the recent earthquake in Haiti.
She said she was disturbed not only by the earthquake's devastation
but also by the "journalistic and tele-visual representations of
Haiti." The news made Haiti's striking poverty seem somehow as
natural as the earthquake, she said, rather than focusing on
historical factors that made the world's first black republic so destitute.
The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement overarched much of her speech.
It wasn't called the Civil Rights Movement back then, she said.
"It was called 'The Movement,; which was shorthand for 'The Freedom Movement.'"
She described The Movement as achieving equality before the law, but
noted that there are limitations.
"Freedom is far larger, vaster, more capacious than civil rights," she said.
The crowd was mostly subdued. At one point, Davis encouraged those in
attendance to applaud as she listed what she considered present-day
freedom movements, including those of undocumented immigrants, the
disabled, GLBT people, and Palestinians.
Brittany Dunn, a third-year in linguistics, said she thought people
were "taking it all in and aborb[ing] the knowledge."
Dunn attended with members of the student group Unplugging Society:
Women of Color Think Tank, and, along with other members, took notes
throughout the speech.
Christa Porter, intercultural specialist for the Multicultural
Center, said the MCC worked with students, faculty and the Council of
Black Leaders in deciding to invite Davis as the featured speaker.
She said bringing Davis was a collaborative effort. Donations from 12
sponsors and money from the Multicultural Center's budget paid for her visit.
Porter also said Davis' advocacy and activism for a number of social
causes made her a good choice.
"We believe in the importance of inclusivity while also celebrating
the African American experience," she said. Davis has spoken out on
feminist issues, social and economic justice, and now advocates for
the abolition of what she calls "the prison industrial complex."
"We want all of our speakers to be inclusive of more than one
identity," Porter said.
Rashida Davison, a second-year in film and sociology, said her
favorite part of the speech was when Davis discussed GLBT rights in
the same vein as civil rights.
"I liked that she brought up that civil rights shouldn't be exclusive
to a particular group," she said.
"I was always under the impression that justice was indivisible,'
Davis said in her speech. "I was always under the impression that we
don't make decisions about who gets civil rights."
Davis also spoke of the abolition of the U.S. prison system which
she is intimately familiar with. At the time a civil rights activist
and college lecturer, she spent 18 months in prison after a
California judge was killed with a shotgun registered in her name in 1970.
"Do you all want to hear this?" Davis asked before launching into the
story that made her a household name in the 1970s.
Before being captured, she eluded police for two months, becoming the
third woman ever placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.
An all-white jury acquitted Davis of all charges in 1972. During the
13 week trial, images of a grim-faced Davis, sporting her trademark
afro hair style, graced newspapers and the nightly newscasts. "Free
Angela" shirts, buttons and placards became almost as ubiquitous as
From the beginning, controversy seemed to follow not far behind.
While a philosophy lecturer at UCLA, she drew the ire of then
Governor Ronald Reagan because at the time she was an admitted Communist.
Porter said she thought it was important for a university the size of
OSU to "provide a platform both to critique [Davis'] views and to
challenge our own thinking in an educational space."
We were absolutely convinced that we were going to win the
revolution," Davis said of her activism with the Black Panthers. "As
if that was a real possibility."
"We never really win the victories we think we're going to win," she added.
But continuing the struggle, she suggested, makes "our sense of
freedom so much larger."
"We were saying 'free the black man,'" Davis said, raising her fist.
"Then we thought, maybe they should be saying 'free the black woman.'"
Angela Davis visits York
Activist kicks off Black History Month
Written by Lewis Chaitov, Contributor
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
She has been called a "freedom fighter,"
"FBI's most wanted" and "a black panther."
Angela Davis, an American political activist, made an appearance
at York's Accolade East on Feb. 3. Davis was brought to campus by the
York Federation of Students to kick off their Black History Month festivities.
Davis served as an activist during the Vietnam War and advanced
the growth of the civil rights movement.
During her presentation, Davis talked about her experience of
running for vice-president of the Communist Party of the United
States in 1980 and 1984.