Republicans at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas are demanding that the school revoke an invitation to a prominent black scholar and activist because she is too “radical,” Fox 34 reports.
Texas Tech invited Angela Davis to speak about “the prison-industrial complex” as part of the university’s 2015 African American History Month Lecture Series.
Davis is well-acquainted with the American prison system — in 1970, she was brought up on charges of “aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder in the death of Judge Harold Haley” after it became known that she had purchased the guns used in the kidnapping that led to his death.
She fled, and was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigations “Most Wanted List,” where she remained until she was arrested on October 13, 1970. Davis then spent the next 18 months in prison, until she was acquitted by an all-white jury.
Davis spent the remainder of the decade travelling to communist countries, including Cuba and the USSR. She ran for president of the United States on the Communist Party ticket in both 1980 and 1984, but parted ways with the party in late 1980s.
Rebeca Jurado, co-chair of the Tech College Republicans, seemed unaware of that fact, telling Fox 34 that “[w]hat concerns us is the fact that she was on the FBI’s most wanted and she’s a very radical communist, which is a view that doesn’t really resonate with anyone at Texas Tech.”
The Chairman of the Lubbock County Republican Party, Carl Tepper, agreed. “I would rather hear from someone who has respect among the community,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we at every opportunity inject positive role models into our young people, rather than someone who’s so angry all the time and has nothing but consternation against the American Dream?”
Brandale Randolph, a local community advocate, said that “Angela Davis, whether we like it or not, is a piece of American history. I thought as Americans, we were champions of free speech.”
“But if we’re saying who can come and who can not speak, now we’re along the same lines of those who we hate,” he added.
A Democracy Now! interview with Davis about prison reform can be seen below.