After selecting Angela Davis to receive the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s annual gala, the educational research center has rescinded their invite to honor her. The decision came just a little over a month before the event was to take place.
In a statement from the board, the organization acknowledged that supporters and other concerned individuals did pressure the group to reconsider their decision.
“Upon closer examination of Ms. Davis’ statements and public record, we concluded that she, unfortunately, does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based,” the statement said.
“While we recognize Ms. Davis’ stature as a scholar and prominent figure in civil rights history, we believe this decision is consistent with the ideals of the award’s namesake, Rev. Shuttlesworth,” the board went on to say. “We regret that this change is necessary, and apologize to our supporters, the community and Ms. Davis for the confusion we have caused.”
While CNN reports that complete clarity on why the cultural institution went against there original choice, a statement by Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin suggests the determination came following an outcry from the local Jewish community and its allies.
On Monday, AP reported on Black activists’ calls for leadership changes at the institute. “This is the ultimate insult to deny Angela Davis her inheritance,” activist Frank Matthews said. Adding that museum leaders should quit and protests will be held over the decision.