Angela Davis to Speak at Soul Food Dinner
January 30, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Long-time activist Angela Davis will speak at Illinois Wesleyan
University's Soul Food Dinner on Feb. 11 in the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher
St., Bloomington). The dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m., and Davis will speak at 6:30
p.m. Sponsored by the Issues and Programming Commission of IWU's Student Senate,
the event is scheduled in celebration of Black History Month.
The cost of the dinner is $12, but those wishing to attend only the presentation may
do so at no charge. The price of the dinner for IWU students with a valid student
ID is $5. Tickets can be purchased at the IWU Bookstore in the Hansen Student Center
from Jan. 29 through Feb. 9, and at the steps of the Bertholf Commons of Memorial
Center (104 E. University St., Bloomington) from Feb. 2 through Feb. 9. Anyone with
special food needs should contact Student Senate Issues and Programming Commissioner
Charlene Carruthers at email@example.com, as there are a limited number of vegetarian plates.
Davis was chosen as this year's speaker for her life-long commitment in advocating
for women and the imprisoned in America. She will speak on issues of punishment and
democracy, focusing on prison reform and women's rights. Davis is internationally
known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the United States
and abroad. A principal focus of her current activism is the state of the prison
systems within the United States. Her solutions include abolishing prisons and addressing
the class, race and gender factors that have led to the incarceration of large numbers
of blacks and Latinos.
Davis's political activism began in her youth in Birmingham, Ala., but it was not
until 1969 that she came into national attention for her social activism and membership
in the United States' Communist Party. In 1970, she became the third woman and the
309th individual to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List when she was
charged with conspiracy, kidnapping and homicide, due to her alleged participation
in an escape attempt from Marin County Hall of Justice. The search for Davis drove
her underground, during which supporters organized a massive international "Free Angela
Davis evaded police for over two months before being captured in New York City, where
she was tried and acquitted of all charges eighteen months after her capture. In
1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released the song "Angela" about her, and the Rolling
Stones released "Sweet Black Angel," which chronicled her legal problems and advocated
for her release. That same year, she was exonerated on all charges.
Following her release, Davis relocated to Cuba, where she had a significant impact
on Afro-Cubans at a time when expressions of black identity were rare on the island.
Her revolutionary credentials allowed admirers to identify with her without fear of
being labeled counter-revolutionary by their peers.
In 1994, Davis received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University
of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies, and is
currently a professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University
of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of several books, her most recent one
being Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire (2005).
Davis has continued a career of activism; in 1995, she rallied against the Million
Man March, arguing that the exclusion of women from this event promoted male chauvinism
and furthered the idea that women should take a subordinate role in society. In 2000,
she formed the African American Agenda, a small alliance of black feminists in response
to the March.
In more recent years, Davis left the Communist Party to help found the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, believing that democracy and socialism
are more compatible than democracy and capitalism. She has also spoken out against
the death penalty, and remains a prominent figure in this debate in California.
For additional information about the Soul Food Dinner, contact Carruthers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Amanda ReCupido, (309) 556-3181