Author, activist Angela Davis to deliver keynote address at annual Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration

Social justice icon, scholar and author Dr. Angela Davis will deliver the keynote address at the 25th annual community celebration of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Monday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Breaking the Chains of Injustice.” The event is free and open to the public. A sign language interpreter will be present.

Dr. Angela Davis

The annual commemoration of Dr. King’s life and legacy is jointly presented by Lawrence University and Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, with the support of The Post-Crescent, numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Davis has devoted her life to social justice movements domestically and internationally as a student, writer, scholar and activist/organizer. Much of her latest work focuses on social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.

“It is with great pride and excitement that we look forward to having Dr. Angela Davis deliver our keynote address at the 25th anniversary of our community celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Kathy Flores, the diversity coordinator for the City of Appleton and chairperson of the MLK organizing committee. “As an activist, educator, author and prison abolitionist, Dr. Davis continues to inspire me. I know her message will inspire all of us that evening.”

In 1970, Davis was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She spent 18 months in jail and on trial before being acquitted by a jury. Davis has drawn on those experiences as an author of nine books, including 2005’s “Abolition Democracy” and 2003’s “Are Prisons Obsolete?” in which she argues for “decarceration.”

Davis, who studied at Brandeis University and the Sobornne in Paris, is currently Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and of Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she has spent the past 15 years.

Her career as an educator and scholar has seen Davis teach at San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of California Berkeley, Stanford University and Vassar College, among others.

Nominations are currently being accepted for two Jane LaChapelle McCarty-MLK Awards, one for a community leader and one for an educator. The community leader award honors an individual who has brought different people in the community together in the spirit of Dr. King. The educator award recognizes an individual who educates in the spirit of Dr. King.

Limited to two pages in length, nominations can be submitted to the attention of Dr. Bola Delano-Oriaran and Dr. Sabrina Robins via email at by Jan. 6, 2016.  Nominations should include contact email addresses and phone numbers of the nominee and the nominator. Award recipients will be announced Jan. 18 at the community celebration.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.