Angela Y. Davis & Ibram X. Kendi

Thursday, January 10, 2019, 7:30 pm
Venue: Nourse Theater

Series: Cultural Studies

Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years she has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. She is a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era.

Professor Davis’s political activism began when she was a youngster in Birmingham, Alabama, and continued through her high school years in New York. But it was not until 1969 that she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA. In 1970 she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on false charges, and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground and culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history. During her sixteen-month incarceration, a massive international “Free Angela Davis” campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

Professor Davis’s long-standing commitment to prisoners’ rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led to her own arrest and imprisonment. Today she remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

 

Ibram X. Kendi, an award-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author, is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic. His second book, STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF RACIST IDEAS IN AMERICA, was published by Nation Books and won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction.

A frequent speaker and contributor of op-eds, Kendi has written for several periodicals including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Root, Salon, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Time, Signature, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is currently working on his next book, HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, which will be published in 2019 by One World, a division of Penguin Random House.