Letter to the Editor

By Don MacAngus


During the March 8 address at the A. Ray Olpin University Union Ballroom, Professor Angela Davis, the noted political and social activist, encouraged all to think more deeply and more critically.

If you will forgive me, I would like to ask a few questions, and perhaps think a bit more deeply and critically of her.

According to her biography (several versions of which are available in the J. Willard Marriott Library) she was fired from her job as a professor several times. This is not necessarily a huge negative, because free thinkers often put themselves out on a limb, and may indeed be ostracized by the powers that be.

That would have been especially true over 30 years ago, when [Davis was fired]. So maybe that isn?t such a big deal. I would just like to know more about it.

Also, for a time, Davis was a fugitive on the FBI?s ?most wanted? list. According to press reports at the time, this is because a handgun registered to her was used in a 1970 murder. Jonathan Jackson (younger sibling to “Soledad Brother” George Jackson) pulled her gun in a Marin County, Calif., courthouse. Reports say he was apparently trying to free his brother and several other inmates.

Jackson was killed, along with Superior Court Judge Harold Haley, who had his head blown off by a shotgun which had been taped to his head. Davis was ultimately acquitted of charges connecting her to the incident, but most accounts agree that she has never fully explained her involvement.

As an American citizen, she has the right to her privacy, and I respect that, but before I listen to her advice about the political and social direction of American culture, I would like to know a bit more about this.

It is also notable, according to her bio, that she (at least in the past) has declared herself to be a “revolutionary communist.” I am not sure what that means, but again, as an American citizen she is free to associate with whomever she chooses.

I do not object to someone like Davis speaking to me or my fellow students. What I am a bit nervous about is the degree to which some people (mainly students) embrace the comments of speakers like her without knowing who they really are, what they have accomplished, or what their philosophies are.

Sorry, just thinking critically.

Don MacAngus

Senior, Communication