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Media Memo: Angela Davis Media Opportunity

TO: News/Assignment Editors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, director, UW-Eau Claire News Bureau

DATE: Feb. 3, 2005

SUBJECT: Angela Davis Media Opportunity

Angela Davis will be available to talk with the media from 6-6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, in the Presidents Room of Davies Center. Her Forum presentation, titled "Punishment and Democracy," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena.

Activist Angela Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the United States and abroad.

Davis' political activism began in her youth in Birmingham, Ala., and continued through her school years in New York. She was active with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and became associated with the Black Panthers and with the black power politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s. She joined the Communist Party when Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968; 12 years later she ran as the party's candidate for vice president of the United States.

In 1969, Davis came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position at the University of California, Los Angeles as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party. In 1970, she was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on false charges and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground. It culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history. During her 16-month incarceration, a massive international "Free Angela Davis" campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

Davis' commitment to prisoners' rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led to her own arrest and imprisonment. She is an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She's a member of the advisory board of the Prison Activist Resource Center and is working on a comparative study of women's imprisonment in the U.S., the Netherlands and Cuba.

Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan once vowed that Davis would never again teach in the University of California system. Today, she's a tenured professor in the history of consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1994, she received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies.

If you have questions about the media session or the Forum presentation, contact Jennifer Hinners at (715) 836-2787 or hinnerjl@uwec.edu.

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