Angela Davis is busy this year with Martin Luther King day commemorations. On Jan. 17 she gave a lecture “dealing with racism in today’s world” as part of the University of South Alabama’s 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. observations. She’s appearing at Brown to deliver its 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture on February 7th. Her talk is titled “Recognizing Racism in the Era of Neo-Liberalism.” She keeps busy on the circuit. Angela Davis has delivered official lectures for Martin Luther King Day at UNC Greensboro, Duke, The University of Florida, The University of Oregon, and numerous other academic institutions.
UNC-Greensboro’s billing of her lecture in 2004 was fairly typical “The significance of Angela Davis to Martin Luther King’s legacy is the fact that she challenged and continues to challenge social inequality in our society” stated Audrey Daniel, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. MLK commemorations routinely involve encomiums to social justice and other left causes (from speakers such as Mary Frances Berry and Nikki Giovanni), but it’s still something of a surprise to find just how many colleges that think the tradition of American civil rights is best commented upon by a Lenin Prize recipient. It might seem curious, in the broader world, to celebrate the violent permutation of the civil rights struggle that Davis represents – the journey from “I have a dream” to “I have a shotgun” – but countless universities appear to have never had the thought.