By Pat Byington
Angela Y. Davis, Birmingham native, global human rights activist, scholar and author, has been named recipient of the prestigious 2018 Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
The Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award is the highest award given by the BCRI and recognizes outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to civil and human rights.
“We are thrilled to bestow this honor on Angela Davis, and excited about her return to her hometown of Birmingham, which is the very launching pad of the modern human rights movement,” said Andrea L. Taylor, BCRI president and CEO. “Arguably, she’s one of the most globally recognized champions of human rights, giving voice to those who are powerless to speak.”
Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities united in the struggle for economic, racial and gender justice.
Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University.
Most recently she spent 15 years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program – and of Feminist Studies. Professor Davis’ papers were acquired by Harvard University’s Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library earlier this year.
Davis, author of 10 books, has lectured throughout the United States and in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of communities most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early 1970s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”
Previous winners of the prestigious Shuttlesworth award have included:
Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover, civil rights icons Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery and Dorothy Cotton, legal activist and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, Ambassador Andrew Young, attorney Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., actor Harry Belafonte and longtime Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington.
The 14th annual awards dinner will take place on Saturday, February 16, 2019, to accommodate Davis’ schedule. Davis will deliver the keynote address.
“We believe the late Reverend Shuttlesworth would also have been proud to see this award in his name bestowed upon her,” said Taylor.
For additional information about the Shuttlesworth Human Rights Awards and celebration contact call Kate Cleveland at 328-9696 x 222 at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
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