Not even the effects of Hurricane Michael could deter the roughly 2,000 people who filled Glenn Memorial Auditorium to hear the lecture by the renowned activist and lecturer Angela Davis.

Davis, who now serves as a professor emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, visited Emory University’s School of Theology on Oct. 10.

Immediately following the lecture, Davis participated in a book signing for her most recent book is “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of the Movement.”

Davis received two standing ovations the talk she delivered, titled, “1968: Lessons from 50 years of change.”

Davis began the talk by pointedly outlining world events in 1968 and how they affected her. She recalled a “Free Huey Newton” celebration; the discussion of women’s roles and rights at a Nina Simone concert; and how students at South Carolina State protested a segregated bowling alley, a protest that resulted in the deaths of three African-American students and the serious injury of 27 other protesters. 

Davis also spoke about the defining event of that year — the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. — which prompted the uprising of students and citizens in more than 100 cities, the assassination of Robert Kennedy in June, the murder of hundreds of students during Mexico’s Tlatelolco Massacre and the election of Richard Nixon.

Davis also celebrated — and criticized — the progress of African-Americans 50 years later.

“The master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house,” she said. “We have failed to address the effects of colonialism.”

Davis also spoke about her experiences as a Black Panther and how, in California, there existed a need to “Police the police.”

She shared her experiences in the early 1970’s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial for false charges.

Davis encouraged the audience to seriously consider the future possibility of a world without prisons.

She explained that she is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the current prison system.

Activist Angela Davis speaks to a crowded Glenn Memorial Auditorium. (Forrest Martin / The Emory Wheel)

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