“People of African descent in the Americas have embodied the quest for freedom for five long centuries,” political activist Angela Davis told the crowd in Woolsey Hall on Thursday.
Davis — a leftist activist, academic, philosopher and author of over ten books on class, feminism and the U.S. prison system — discussed the past and present of the black freedom movement, in celebration of the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. In her speech, she emphasized the contributions of “unsung heroes” of social justice work.
“We need to revise the way in which we narrate the history of black people in the Americas,” Davis said at the talk.
A star of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Davis served as an affiliate of the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther party. She was also a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an all-black chapter of the Communist Party. She was imprisoned for 16 months for her alleged involvement in the armed seizure of a Marin County Courthouse in California and was released on bail and eventually acquitted. The public protest surrounding her arrest further defined her role in the Black Power Movement.