Angela Davis speaks at Boutwell Stadium

Photo by Amy Lawhon/Staff Photographer
Angela Davis, social activist and Birmingham native, at press conference at Tuggle Elementary on Saturday, February 16.

Myles Womack
CItyLifestyle Editor

On Saturday, February 16, the Birmingham Committee of Truth and Reconciliation hosted, “A Conversation with Dr. Angela Davis” at the Boutwell Auditorium. 

The event was announced back in early January as an alternative honor ceremony after the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) originally rescinded the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. The BCRI re-invited Davis back again in late January. 

“It’s important that we recognize that no communities are homogeneous,” Davis said. “There are political differences in black communities and I think that what was damaging to the history of the involvement of Jewish people in progressive struggles was what happened with true award.”

Earlier the day, for the first time since the events of the past several weeks had unfolded, Davis spoke publicly on the issue in a press conference held at Tuggle Elementary, the school at which she attended as a youth.

Davis said the BCRI has still yet to give an explanation behind why the award was first rescinded or later why that decision has been repealed.

“If I accept the award it would be a good move to engage in conversations about the issues [regarding the decision to rescind the award],” Davis said.

Dr. Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University discussed several topics with Davis.

“I will never love Birmingham as much as I love Birmingham this moment,” Davis said.

During the conversation, Davis further elaborated on her reaction to the BCRI’s decision. 

Davis said that she was first “overcome with joy” upon hearing the news of the Civil Rights Institute’s award and then was “surprised” after the rescission. 

Davis also touched on her scholastic career, her role in Palestinian rights, prison reformation and her upbringing in Birmingham. 

Davis has yet to respond to the BCRI or accepting the offer a second time.

“I don’t want to do anything to damage the reputation of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” Davis said.

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