BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The decision to award Angela Davis the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute caused controversy, including among the Jewish community. The institute then rescinded its decision to honor the civil rights leader.
Davis was going to be honored in February, however the announcement brought on controversy due to her support of the Justice for Palestinians campaign, her membership in the Communist Party in the 1980’s and her support of Soviet Bloc countries in the 1970’s. Today, a group announced she will still be honored.
A local group of civic, religious, legal, and business leaders announced they were reactivating the Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, which was originally organized in 1963. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was a founding member then. Here’s what the group said today about the Civil Rights Institution’s decision to not honor Angela Davis:
“Any mischaracterization of your work we believe is grounded in an anti-black misogynoir by way of white supremacy, patriarchy, and willful ignorance,” says DeJuana Thompson.
By reactivating the Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, they plan to honor Angela Davis their own way.
“We will host a day of engaged community dialogue in her honor and an evening entitled ‘a Conversation with Angela Davis’”, says Houston Brown.
Growing up in Birmingham, Angela Davis experienced bombings of her neighborhood by the Ku Klux Klan. As a teen, she organized interracial study groups that were broken up by police. Later, she was charged with aiding an escape attempt of a radical black man, when it was found that guns used in the event were registered in her name. She was later acquitted on all charges.
“She put her career, freedom, and life on the line for the liberation of all marginalized and oppressed people,” says Thompson.
Three members of the Civil Rights Institution resigned Wednesday, but the group did not have a comment on that. A spokesperson for the city of Birmingham says they are talking with many of those involved in the situation and will provide more information at the appropriate time.