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Angela Davis to Speak on the Struggle of Freedom

St. Lawrence University’s Kathryn Fraser Mackay Memorial fund will sponsor distinguished professor of philosophy and noted civil rights activist Angela Davis from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, in Gulick Theatre.

Davis will deliver her lecture, titled “Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Histories and Current Realities,” based on her recent book of essays, Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (Haymarket, 2016.)

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, 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 of struggle for economic, racial and gender justice.

Her teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College and University of California Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar College, Syracuse University, The Claremont Colleges and Stanford University. Mostly 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 doctorate program – and of feminist studies.

Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as 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 those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early ’70s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has 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 entitled The Meaning of Freedom.

Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia, which works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Her talk is a free event and open to the general public. Parking will be available in the H, I, T and A lots. Visit www.stlawu.edu/campus-map for an interactive map of the campus. 

The Kathryn Fraser Mackay Memorial Lectureship fund was established in 1980 by Donald and Lottie Mackay in memory of their daughter, Kathryn Fraser Mackay ’77, and supports lectures coordinated by the religious studies and philosophy departments to foster learned consideration of philosophical and religious issues.

For more information, contact the Department of Philosophy at 315-229-5222.