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Dr. Angela Y. Davis honored with Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award – Virtual Event

June 19, 2020 @ 7:00 pm

Read Time 3 Minutes

Global Human Rights Activist Dr. Angela Y. Davis To Receive Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award

Friday, June 19, 2020  7:00PM CST ONLINE


Global human rights activist, scholar, author and Birmingham native Dr. Angela Y. Davis will receive the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, the highest award given by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) that honors outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to civil and human rights. Dr. Davis accepted the award after it was reaffirmed by the Board in 2019. The virtual event will take place on June 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm central time and will feature a conversation between Dr. Davis and moderator Professor D. Wendy Greene, of Drexel University.

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela 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.”

She’s also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of essays titled The Meaning of Freedom. Her most recent book of essays, called Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, was published in February 2016.



Established by the BCRI Board of Directors in 2002, the Annual Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award serves as a tribute to the leadership and courage of the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth throughout the course of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. This annual award is an opportunity for the Institute to recognize individuals for their service to civil and human rights causes around the world. It is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Recipients of the Shuttlesworth award must embody the principles that guided the American Civil Rights Movement and have characterized the life of Fred L. Shuttlesworth:

  • A philosophy of non-violence and reconciliation
  • Courage, both moral and physical, in the face of great odds
  • Humility
  • Leadership by example
  • An established commitment to human-rights activities

Rev. Shuttlesworth was the inaugural recipient of the award. Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover received the award in 2003; Dr. John Hope Franklin in 2004; Congressman John Lewis in 2005; Dorothy Cotton in 2006; Fred Gray in 2007, Joseph Ellwanger in 2008 and Rev. Joseph Lowery in 2009; Congressman James Clyburn in 2010, Journalist and Author Charlayne Hunter-Gault in 2011; Legal Activist and Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson in 2012 and Ambassador Andrew Young in 2013; Dr. C.T. Vivian in 2014 and Attorney Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. in 2015 and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in 2016.


June 19, 2020
7:00 pm


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