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Angela Davis set to give lecture at Al

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Renowned feminist, author and educator Angela Davis will give a distinguished lecture at the Al McGuire Center Wednesday, March 29.

The lecture is part of the Marquette Forum, a yearlong series which focuses on the African-American struggle against inequality in Milwaukee and on a national level.

Davis was born in a neighborhood of Birmingham, Ala., called Dynamite Hill, which got its name from the excessive number of firebomb attacks conducted there by the Ku Klux Klan against African-American residents. She moved to New York City as a teenager with her mother, who is in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Davis joined the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. She’d later join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Black Panther Party. In 1968, she joined the American Communist Party. She ran for Vice President as a communist in 1980 and 1984. As a result, she was dismissed from her professor of philosophy position at UCLA .

Empowerment co-President Eliana Winterbauer-Light, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she did not believe Davis was trying to force communism on people. “That’s how she was able to express some of the tenets of the Black Panthers’ desires for equality,” she said. Empowerment is a gender equality group on campus.

Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industrial complex.

In 1970, Davis was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list on false charges of conspiracy for a prison break. She was acquitted of these charges in 1972 in a high-profile case, in which she made the opening statements herself and won the favor of an all-white jury.

“She was a figurehead for the Civil Rights Movement, but not like Martin Luther King Jr.,” Winterbauer-Light said. “I think it’s important to have a perspective on the Civil Rights that you’re not taught constantly in history books … I think it’s really profound.”

Some made comparisons between Davis and Ben Shapiro, as they are both speakers on Marquette’s campus who have garnered controversy. Shapiro, a conservative political commentator, spoke Feb. 8 and engendered an attempt by faculty member, Christina Nelson, to reserve seats on Eventbrite to deter those with genuine interest in going. However, Corinne Conway, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said comparing Shapiro and Davis is like comparing apples and oranges.

“(Davis) seeks to foster inclusion,” Conway said. “She’s not trying to take anything away from anybody. She wants to bring everyone to the same level. She doesn’t want to perpetuate people being down or staying back.”

Another major difference between the two is Davis’ status as an academic. Danielle Mellin, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, cited the prestigious schools, including UCLA, Syracuse and UC Santa Cruz Davis taught at as a major accomplishment. While Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he made campaign promises to prevent Davis from ever teaching again in the California school system. Despite Reagan’s efforts, she became a lecturer at San Francisco State in 1977.

The co-presidents of Empowerment hope Davis’ speech will be enlightening, and are encouraging people from both sides of the political spectrum to attend.

“There seems to be a call from many people on campus that want discussion,” Conway said. “Marquette promotes dialogue, but it seems like the spaces for that dialogue are typically among people that already agree with each other. I feel like there aren’t enough events that attract people from different perspectives in which dialogue between opposing views could actually take place.”

The acceptance of this event by the College Republicans may indicate that Davis’ speech could be an event where such dialogue is generated.

“The College Republicans, and Republicans in general, are proponents of freedom of speech, and we will not be organizing anyone to protest a speech,” said Gabrielle Hanke, senior in the College of Business Administration and College Republicans chairperson. “We like to promote respect of other people’s ideas and will not disrespect them by interrupting their peaceful events. Plenty of conservatives I know consider themselves feminists or in support of feminist movements, so I can say with certainty this would not be on our agenda.”

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Angela Davis set to give lecture at Al”

  1. Cecelia collins on March 28th, 2017 10:31 pm

    Miss Davis has been one of the most outspoken learned women of the 20tb century. She has shown heart and discipline with poise , grace and spirit as she locked in to get abililities as a spokes person with thorough research of her subject matter. I can most certainly ssy she has been blessed and fortunate by the grace of God to be heard with continued brilliance.

  2. Arafat on March 29th, 2017 5:47 pm

    “On Friday, January 20, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. The next day, the leftist hordes descended on Washington and cranked up the volume. C-SPAN identified one keynote speaker only as Angela Davis, so millenials, GenXers, and even baby boomers should understand what she is all about.

    “We represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again,” Davis said, adding: “history cannot be deleted like web pages.” Davis had a lot to say about the evils of America but did not get into her own colorful history of speeches before presidential elections. In those the African-American Davis always showed a flair for all-white, all-male totalitarian dictatorships.

    In 1980 and 1984 Angela Davis was the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union. That was how the Russian Communists interfered in the American electoral process, by running their own candidates or supporting proxies in other parties, such as Henry Wallace in 1948.

    In 1980 and 1984, Davis was on the bottom of the ticket under white Stalinist Gus Hall, like her a real barrel of laughs. Davis and Hall twice lost to Ronald Reagan and George Bush, big time, but that defeat could not prevent Davis from becoming professor of the history of consciousness and feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz. Before that she gained fame for supporting violent male convicts such as Black Panther George Jackson, who killed a guard at Soledad Prison.

    As this article described it, Davis brought the “arsenal of weapons” to spring Jackson. On August 7, 1970, “George Jackson’s 17-year-old brother, Jonathan, charged into a Marin County courtroom and took several people hostage, including Judge Harold Haley, the prosecuting assistant DA, and two jurors. The assailants taped a sawed-off shotgun (owned by Davis) to Haley’s chin. In the ensuing escape attempt, a shootout took place during which Haley’s head was blown off, and Jonathan Jackson was killed.”

    The pro-gun Davis fled but was arrested in New York. At her 1972 trial more than 20 witnesses implicated her in the plot to free Jackson, but Davis gained acquittal. That made her a national figure and helped launch her political career.

    In 1979, Angela Davis won the International Lenin Peace Prize, awarded by the Soviet Union. The award helped her rise in the Communist Party, but she was not America’s only star Stalinist.

    Paul Robeson boasted huge talents as a singer, actor and athlete but spent much of his life defending the all-white Communist dictatorship of the Soviet Union during the worst of Stalin’s repressions. The USSR duly gave him the Stalin Peace Prize, which Robeson proudly accepted…”

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