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Angela Davis to lecture on campus

Courtesy of University Communications

Courtesy of University Communications

Prospector Staff

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UTEP’s African-American Studies Program and the Black Student Union are kicking off a lecture series with guest lecturer Angela Davis at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday at the Undergraduate Learning Center building, room 126. 

Davis is an activist, author, academic, humanitarian, civil and women’s rights advocate and a current professor at the University of California.

Davis said that her political activism was inspired by growing up around racial violence in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a member of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and a former leader of the Communist Party USA.

Michael V. Williams, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s African-American Studies Program, said the lecture series was developed to bring scholars and activists from across the nation to campus to engage with students and to share their passion and expertise with the wider community.

Williams hopes the lecture will help people understand the necessity, particularly young people, of social activism.

“The necessity of becoming a voice in this world,” Williams said. “She’s important because of what she represents in terms of a real strong commitment to racial, gender and equality, social justice, and she is a powerful iconic voice.”

The African-American Studies Program is not placing any restrictions on Davis’ discussion.   

“It’s titled an evening with Angela Davis and it’s done that way because it gives her an opportunity to deal with what’s happening currently,” Williams said.

Davis has caused controversy throughout the years, sometimes known as a black militant and self-proclaimed communist. Davis was also acquitted on charges of conspiracy.

“People are generally excited about it, that’s not to say that everyone will agree with everything that’s presented, but then that’s the importance of being on a college campus  and in a active community as well—you get to engage people in all aspects and that’s what dialogue is all about,” Williams said.

Sade Talani, junior history major and treasurer for UTEP’s Black Student Union, said that she admires Davis because she says what people need to listen to and not what people want to hear.

“It’s a plus to have her at the time of the #MeToo movement, especially for what she’s done for the community and for women in general, but I think that her being here is just monumental,” Talabi said. “It’s not only important to the black community, it’s important to all communities.

The event is free and a Q&A will follow. There will also be a brief book signing.

As part of Black History Month, the next lecturer will be by Curtis Austin, “The Black Panther Party and the Long Black Power Movement” on Feb. 12 at the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center at 2 p.m.

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Angela Davis to lecture on campus