Counterculture radical, Communist Party leader, Black Panther associate, and accused murder co-conspirator Angela Davis is scheduled to speak at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on March 30th of this year.
On the evening of March 9th, the University “Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life” sent out an email referring to her as a “legendary activist” involved in a “decades-long…quest for social justice”. The full excerpt from the email is below :
“Mon. March 30 – Angela Davis
7:30 p.m. Fine Arts Center
Black History Month observances conclude with an appearance by legendary activist, author, and scholar Angela Davis. Her decades-long involvement in the quest for social justice emphasizes the “importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender equality.””
The email’s purpose was to make students aware of on campus events during the remainder of March. However, the editorializing by the administration may come across as a tacit endorsement of Davis.
The event itself is titled “Angela Davis: Sustaining Social Justice Movements and Intersectional Struggles” and is sponsored by many different groups, including most surprisingly, the Office of the Provost. Various academic departments, and student organizations are on the full list of sponsors as well:
“The College of Humanities & Fine Arts, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, Sociology Department, College of Education, Political Science Department, UMass Graduate School, History Department, Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, Student Government Association (SGA), Black Mass Communication Project (BMCP), Graduate Student Senate (GSS), Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, Social Thought and Political Economy, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, Commonwealth Honors College, Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS)”
The University of Massachusetts is a taxpayer funded public institution. Its endorsement of Angela Davis, and encouragement of students to attend the event is very problematic, given her extreme past.
In 1972, Davis was acquitted of any involvement in a plot that led to the deaths of four individuals, including a sitting judge. The incident was carried out by a 17-year-old named Jonathan Jackson, who took multiple people hostage after taking over a courtroom.
Even though she owned the guns used in the attack, the jury was not able to reach a guilty verdict. Ex-radical David Horowitz writes “The trial ended in an acquittal for Davis in part because of the difficulty the prosecution had in establishing in court the real connections between Davis and Jackson, and in part because the jury was stacked with political sympathizers like Mary Timothy, an anti-Vietnam activist…”
People are free to form their own conclusions on whether the acquittal was deserved or not. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg for Angela Davis. Davis ran on the Communist Party USA’s Presidential ticket as vice president twice before. Does anyone think the Office of the Provost, or any academic department would sponsor a right wing extremist, such as a fascist to come speak? Or course not, and it shouldn’t. However, it has no problem sponsoring an event which features a parallel left wing extremist.
Further information on Davis is available on her page at Horowtiz’s “Discover The Networks” site.