Jan. 21, the McCombs ballroom hosted a lecture given by Dr. Angela Davis. Almost every member of the audience stood to greet Davis with a torrent of applause as she made her way across the room to the podium.
E.B.O.N.Y. students began the lecture by giving a brief biography of Davis and her contributions to not only the Civil Rights of African-Americans, but those of African-American women as well. It was at this time that the student organization announced a Black History Month lecture series that will take place every Wednesday of this upcoming February in the McCombs ballroom.
After one final introduction, Davis ascended the pulpit and asked the audience a single question, “What is the history of Black History month?” When no one provided an answer, Davis began a lecture which covered politics, human relations and the meaning of freedom. Two particularly well-received moments of the lecture were when Davis drew attention the relationship between Haiti and black history, as it is the first independent black republic and the site of the world’s only successful slave rebellion; and her commentary on feminism, which she “had heard was important on the Southwestern campus.”
After the event, Davis took time to answer three questions, one being about her experiences with the FBI (which made her famous) and her organization “Critical Resistance,” which is dedicated to prison abolition.
“Allow me to make clear,” Davis said, “I am not saying ‘open the doors and let all the prisoners out’.”
One of Davis’ main points was that prison was not a “one size fits all” solution.
The lecture made students look at themselves critically and overall fulfilled its aim to simply make students think.
“Well, I’d never thought about prison abolition before. I now think there should be more security in prisons to prevent sexual violence from happening inside prisons. Aside from that, there should be punishments more effective in preventing crimes than simply going to prison,” first-year Tom Murphy said.
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