Noted activist says revolution neededNoted radical black activist Angela Davis found a big crowd waiting to hear her Wednesday night in the Chester Fritz Auditorium at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
By: By Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
Noted radical black activist Angela Davis found a big crowd waiting to hear her Wednesday night in the Chester Fritz Auditorium at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
Davis, 68, was the “Great Conversations” speaker to what Fritz workers estimated as nearly 1,000 people.
She came to global prominence as the 1960s ended, a leader of the U.S. Communist Party and the Black Panther Party charged with murder and kidnapping in a deadly attempt to free a Panther leader from prison.
She went underground for several months, Davis said Wednesday, before going to trial and being acquitted in 1972.
A world wide campaign to “Free Angela” was instrumental to her freedom and still resonates today as she remains a celebrity for a certain kind of activism. Just Tuesday near her home in Oakland, Calif., two women visiting the city were amazed they found her “just walking around,” she said, eliciting laughs. “I was just coming back from my yoga class.”
Although her critics believe federal investigators established that she bought the shotgun used to kill Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, Calif., Davis said Wednesday the gun was obtained by Jonathan Jackson, 17, the young brother of her imprisoned comrade, George Jackson.
The guns were used to try to free George Jackson and others, but he, the judge and two others died after a shootout with police in 1970.
Davis said she remains convinced of the need for the revolution, she said, when asked what she thought of the recent “Occupy Movement,” of young, disparate and often anarchic protesters who tried to shut down Wall Street and other symbols of America’s economic and political system.
Despite the fact that Occupiers’ “tents are torn down,” the effort was not a failure, Davis said, drawing a large historical parallel. “It made it possible for us to openly criticize capitalism in a way that had not been possible really since the 1930s.”
She said the Occupy Movement represented a uniting of many groups, “the 99 percent... that made the people in the 1 percent embarrassed about their status.”
Davis is retired as professor of the history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Her role in the 1970 incident and going on the lam made her one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted.
She drew laughs Wednesday when she touted a recent documentary film about her case.
“I never knew how the FBI caught me till I saw the film a few months ago,” she said.