In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, civil rights activist Angela Davis will shed light on issues around racism, her advocacy for human rights as well as the legacy of King.
The event, which is a part of the University Lecture Series from USF’s Campus Activities Board, will be held via Microsoft Teams on Thursday from 7-8 p.m., leaving the last 15 minutes for audience questions. She will speak for 45 minutes to discuss systemic racism and racial issues within society and what can be done to create more opportunities for American minorities.
Davis will be paid $20,000 for participating in thie lecture, according to Student Programs Coordinator Isabelle Arroyo-Acevedo. Following the lecture, there will be a 30-minute virtual meet and greet with Davis for faculty and VIP audience members.
The moderator will be assistant professor David Ponton III, a social historian at USF who studies racism in America through the 20th century.
During the lecture, Davis will recall her journey through the fight for economic justice for minorities, desegregation and gender equality, according to Arroyo-Acevedo. The moderator will also ask questions on what King’s legacy means to her and in today’s society.
Davis’ journey in racial justice began early in life. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, a city targeted by the Ku Klux Klan throughout her childhood in the 1940s and 1950s. She fought against racism within her hometown, eventually advocating for desegregation and gender equality on a national scale, according to Davis’ book “An Autobiography.”
She joined the racial justice group the Black Panthers as well as the all-Black communist youth group called the Che-Lumumba Club while studying philosophy at the University of California San Diego’s graduate school.
Davis is best known for her work in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and her promotion of women’s rights alongside feminist icon Gloria Steinem. She also works diligently in the name of prison reform and the racism that still permeates the American criminal justice system.
Davis has also written six books on many social justice issues, with titles like “Freedom is a Constant Struggle” and “Women, Culture and Politics.”
She continues to travel the world delivering lectures to promote equality after retiring from a teaching position at the University of California Santa Cruz, which she held for 39 years.