Controversial Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis To Speak In Appleton

Some Still Believe Davis Played Role In 1970 California Courtroom Takeover

Universität Wien (CC-BY-NC)

Civil Rights activist Angela Davis will speak in Appleton Monday night as part of the city’s 25th annual Martin Luther King celebration.

Davis remains a controversial figure over allegations of her involvement in the armed takeover of a California courtroom in 1970, which resulted in the deaths of a judge and three hostage-takers following a police shootout. Davis was charged with providing the gun that was found to kill the judge. She was held for months, but was eventually found innocent.

Kathy Flores is the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the City of Appleton, and the event’s organizer. She noted that the jury that found Davis innocent was entirely made up of white people.

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“Not only was she found not guilty, she went on to receive awards for her civil rights work, and she’s become quite a prison abolitionist,” said Flores.

Critics, like Brian Sikma of the conservative group “Media Trackers,” say Davis got off on a technicality.

“One thing that people across the political spectrum and across the spectrum of that issue agree on, whether you support the NRA or whether you support President Obama’s gun agenda, is that straw gun purchasers are irresponsible individuals who are contributing to the violence that we see carried out with firearms throughout the streets of America,” said Sikma.

Davis will speak at Lawrence University, which is jointly hosting the event along with “Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities.”