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The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Alabama museum and research center dedicated to the history of the Civil Rights Movement, has rescinded a prestigious award to activist, academic and Birmingham native Angela Davis, canceling the February gala at which it was to be presented. The news has sparked protests, and Birmingham mayorRandall Woodfin and the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP have urged the institute to reconsider.
Since the decision was reportedly caused by objections to Davis’s strong support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement targeting Israel, it is likely to add to already-simmering tensions between black activists and the Jewish community.
Progressives - Un-honoring - Davis - Position - Quite
But progressives dismayed by the un-honoring of Davis would do well to rethink their position. Quite apart from her stance toward Israel—which includes the embraceof convicted terrorists Rasmea Odeh and Marwan Barghouti—Davis has a history that makes her a very dubious candidate for a human rights award.
Davis, who turns 75 later this month, has often been called a civil rights icon (indeed, the now-canceled event honoring her was titled “A Civil Rights Icon Returns”). But while she was involved in the civil rights movement as a teenager, she became an icon much later—in 1970, as a black militant facing murder charges for her alleged role in a violent attack in a California courtroom.
Davis - University - California - Professor - Philosopher
By then, Davis, a former University of California professor who had studied with the radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse in Europe, was a card-carrying Communist and a supporter of the Black Panther party. She was accused of helping engineer a hostage-taking in a California courtroom intended to free three Black Panthers accused of killing a white prison guard. Davis had bought several of the firearms used in the attack, in which the judge and the three defendants were killed and several other people were injured.
Arrested after several months...
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