Category: Angela Davis

A Friendly Homecoming for Activist Angela Davis

Civil right activist Angela Davis’ life and work took center stage at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham Saturday evening. The receptive crowd frequently applauded and cheered Davis. Some audience members raised their fists. But the celebration of the Birmingham native is not the one many anticipated just six weeks ago.

Last fall, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute awarded Davis the 2018 Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, but then revoked it January 3rd, saying Davis did not “meet all of the criteria on which the award is based.” The statement did not specify any criteria.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, an ex-officio member of the institute’s board, said in a statement at the time the decision was made “after protests from some members of the community, Jewish and otherwise.” Davis is a vocal critic of the Israeli government’s policies toward Palestinians and supports the movement to boycott Israel.

The move provoked a wave of public criticism. Three board members resigned. Less than two weeks later, the board reversed its decision and re-extended the award to Davis. She has not said if she would accept it.
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