Once called a “dangerous terrorist” by disgraced President Richard Nixon, Angela Y. Davis will receive the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s most prestigious honor.
The activist, professor and scholar will be given the 2018 Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award on Feb. 16, 2019 in her hometown. Named for civil rights hero and Southern Christian Leadership Conference co-founder Frederick Lee Shuttlesworth, the honor is given to those who have significantly contributed to the fight for human rights.
“We are thrilled to bestow this honor on Angela Davis, and excited about her return to her hometown of Birmingham, which is the very launching pad of the modern human rights movement,” said Andrea Taylor, the organization’s president and CEO. “Arguably, she’s one of the most globally recognized champions of human rights, giving voice to those who are powerless to speak.”
Davis became a symbol of resistance after she was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list in 1970 following the killing of a judge who was was taken hostage by three men Davis was said to know. After going on the run, Davis was captured and tried on aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder charges.
Despite being castigated in the mainstream media, an all-white jury eventually acquitted Davis, a college professor at the time, on all of the charges and she went on to become a leading voice in the fight against racial and gender injustice.
According to Taylor, Davis is the perfect recipient of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s highest award.
“We believe the late Reverend Shuttlesworth would also have been proud to see this award in his name bestowed upon her,” she said.
Previously, the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award has been given to civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, actor and activist Harry Belafonte, and former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington.