By George Mauzy
Angela Davis, noted author, civil rights activist and feminist, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium.
A book signing will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public. The event is part of the Ohio University Department of African American Studies 40th Anniversary celebration.
During her presentation titled, "Prisons and Democracy," Davis will discuss why there are more than 2 million Americans behind bars and the legal, social and cultural issues related to what she has termed the "prison industrial complex." She also will address the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the persistent criminalization of poor and minority communities.
"The prison system bears the imprint of slavery perhaps more than any other institution," Davis said. "It produces a state that is very similar to slavery; the deprivation of rights, civil death and disenfranchisement."
Davis, a former prisoner, "enemy of the state" and subject of FBI surveillance, also will share her personal experiences inside the criminal justice system.
"The African American Studies 40th Anniversary Committee wanted to bring Dr. Davis to Athens to raise awareness about incarceration and its impact on rural communities like ours," said Robin D. Muhammad, assistant professor of African American Studies. "We also feel that Ohio University and other universities like it can contribute positively to critical discussions and policies relating to the criminal justice system. Angela Davis is the kind of scholar and activist who raises the quality of discussion, regardless of one's position on these issues."
During the civil rights movement, Davis gained national notoriety as an outspoken civil rights activist during one of the most turbulent periods in American history.
An accomplished author and speaker, Davis has written eight books, lectured throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America and has continued to speak out for human rights and justice. Her most recent books are "Abolition Democracy" and "Are Prisons Obsolete?" and she is currently writing a book about prisons and American History.
In her academic career, Davis has served on the faculty at San Francisco State University, Mills College and the University of California, Berkeley and taught courses at UCLA, Vassar College, the Claremont Colleges and Stanford University. She has spent the past 15 years as a professor of history of consciousness and a professor of feminist studies at the University of California Santa Cruz.