University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Famed civil rights leader Angela Davis to speak at next ‘Great Conversation’ Feb. 6

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

The University Program Council, a division of Student Government, invites the public to a “Great Conversation” featuring Civil Rights Movement activist  Angela Davis on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at  7 p.m., at the Chester Fritz auditorium. A reception and book signing will follow at the Gorecki Alumni Center at 8:15 p.m.

Born Jan. 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Ala., Davis is best known as an African American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues. As early as 1969, Davis began publicly speaking, voicing her opposition to the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, the prison industrial complex, the death penalty and her support of gay rights.

As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, she joined the Black Panthers, but spent most of her time working with the Che-Lumumba Club, which was an all-black branch of the Communist Party.In 1970, Davis purchased the firearms used in an attack that killed a judge, juror, prosecutor and three prison inmates that attempted to escape after holding a courtroom hostage, leading FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to make Davis the third woman to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.  She was arrested and, after spending 18 months behind bars, Davis was acquitted of all charges.

Davis also ran for Vice-President along with the veteran party leader of the Communist Party, Gus Hall. However, several years later she separated from the Communist Party, leaving it to help found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Davis has continued a career of activism, and a principal focus of her current activism is the condition of prisons within the United States. Considering herself an abolitionist, not a "prison reformer," Davis was one of the primary founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison system.

In 1997, she declared herself to be a lesbian in Out magazine and is now an activist for GLBTQ rights.

Today she is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches courses on the history of consciousness. Davis is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003).

About UPC

A division of Student Government, University Program Council’s (UPC) mission is to educate, entertain and challenge UND students through entertainments as well as cultural and educational programming. In an effort to achieve this goal, the UPC presents to the campus community a variety of events including, but not limited to: music events, performing arts, speakers, Union and special events, cinema events, and diversity events. All funds received and used by the UPC are from student fees.

-- David L. Dodds, media relations/writer and editor, University Relations, 777.5529, david.dodds@UND.edu.


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