Alabama Governor Refuses to Sign Resolution Honoring Angela Davis


The Alabama Legislature passed a joint resolution honoring civil rights activist and professor Angela Davis for her significant contributions to social justice through her activism and scholarship. The resolution was offered by Black legislators and, like most commendation resolutions, was passed on a voice vote in a block of similar resolutions. Governor Robert Bentley refused to sign the resolution because, his spokeswoman said, “he had reservations about commending someone who had leadership ties to the Communist Party.”

Rep. Oliver Robinson (D-Birmingham) sponsored the resolution to commend Professor Davis, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, who will be a featured speaker at a March 30 event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, which killed four young girls.

The joint resolution notes Professor Davis’s work as an educator at “the university level and in the larger public sphere, [which] has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.”

Now Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Angela Davis’s political activism began as a youngster in Birmingham. In 1969, she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA. In 1970 she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on false charges and she was acquitted in 1972 after being incarcerated for more than a year.

Professor Davis is an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex, and is especially concerned with the diversion of resources and attention to the prison system rather than to educational institutions.

During the last 25 years, Professor Davis has lectured in all of the 50 United States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of nine books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race, and Class; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday; The Angela Y. Davis Reader; Are Prisons Obsolete?; a new edition ofNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; and The Meaning of Freedom.