If you asked me before this week who Angela Y. Davis is I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. In light of the attention she’s received over the last several days, because of the decision by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) to rescind their offer to honor her this year, I decided to become more familiar with her work and their decision.
I’ve read numerous speeches, news articles quoting her and have purchased and skimmed through two of her books. It is with that background I’m absolutely confident the Institute did the right thing by reconsidering their initial offer to recognize her work.
While some of the work Angela Davis has done is laudable, one shouldn’t cherry-pick just those things and ignore her record on the whole. A record that includes ties, which she herself celebrates, with notable terrorists and those who would seek to see Israel handed over to the Palestinian people.
Hate and bigotry are serious issues, but to focus on the plight of African American communities while furthering the plight of another group (in Davis’ case the Jewish community), you are doing no one favors.
Someone dropped the ball at the BCRI by not properly vetting Davis’s full history, speeches and current activism prior to choosing her for the award. That said, had they turned a blind eye to the concerns of the Jewish community and others after the announcement their troubles would have been compounded by still choosing to honor her.