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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
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e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 9, 2001

[EDITOR'S NOTE: a press conference has been scheduled for the media to talk with Angela Davis from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 at the Miller Room (Room 259) of the IMU.]

Angela Davis to give Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Angela Davis, the University of California, Santa Cruz, philosophy professor who in the late 1960s drew national attention for her social and political activism and membership in the Black Panther Party, will deliver the Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation at the University of Iowa Monday, Jan. 15. The convocation begins at 7 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Davis will speak on "The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Radical Framework for Social Justice." She appears at the UI as a guest of the UI Lecture Committee, and her visit coincides with Human Rights Week 2001, a Jan. 15-21 commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and diversity in the UI community. King's birthday, a national holiday to be observed on Jan. 15, has been recognized at the UI since 1968 with a convocation. Beginning in 1993, the UI expanded its observance to include a week of activities open to the public free of charge.

Throughout her life Davis has opposed oppression in the United States and internationally, first as a youth in her home city of Birmingham, Ala., and later in 1968 when she became a member of the Communist and Black Panther parties. Those associations ultimately saw her dismissed from her professorial position at the University of California at Los Angeles and notoriously placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.

She is widely known now as an advocate for penal reform, herself having been imprisoned for 18 months for her role in conspiring to free Black Panther leader George Jackson from the Marin (California) County Jail.

In numerous speeches to public audiences, Davis chides what she calls the prison industrial complex and says the penal system encourages institutionalized racism. She is working to help create ways that will help reduce the number of women sentenced to prison and is at work on a book that focuses on race, criminalization and the differential treatment women receive in terms of penal punishment. Davis is the first African American woman to hold a full tenured professorship in the History of Consciousness program at UC-Santa Cruz.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact University Lecture Committee in advance at 335-3255. The lecture will be signed by an ASL interpreter.