Civil rights activist and academic Angela Davis will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame along with 10 other women in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York. The induction ceremony will be held in September in Seneca, often considered the birthplace of the Women’s Rights movement in the US.
“We are pleased to add these American women to the ranks of inductees whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history,” Dr. Betty Bayer, president of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, said in a statement.
The 11 new inductees received commendation for “their invaluable contributions to American society in the areas of the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy, and science.”
Davis, who has worked tirelessly for Civil Rights and women’s rights, will be inducted alongside attorney Gloria Allred, professor Sarah Deer, actor Jane Fonda, advocate Nicole Malachowski, artist Rose O’Neill, former Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, composer Laurie Spiegel, and biologist Flossie Wong-Staal. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg was announced as the 11th member of the 2019 inductees earlier in July.
Davis, a native of Birmingham, Alabama worked with the Black Panther Party and as a young woman joined an all-Black branch of the Communist Party called the Che-Lumumba Club. She worked as a professor and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles but the Board of Regents fired her due to her ties to communism. Davis took the university to court and won her job back and left when her contract ended in 1970.
The civil rights advocate became a vocal supporter of John W. Clutchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and George Lester Jackson, three prison inmates of Soledad Prison known as the Soledad Brothers. The three men were accused of murdering a prison guard after another prison guard had shot and killed three incarcerated Black men in a fight three days earlier.
Davis was linked to Jackson’s escape attempt in August 1970 during his trial. Several people in the courtroom died, prompting authorities to charge Davis with murder. She spent about a year and a half in jail before her acquittal in June 1972.
The author of Women, Race, and Class and several other books returned to the classroom at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She has lectured around the United States and in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. Davis retired in 2008 as a Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Program and the Feminist Studies Department at UCSC.
Founded in 1969, the National Women’s Hall of Fame is the country’s oldest membership organization and museum dedicated to celebrating and honoring the achievements of American women. Since its founding, 276 women have been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
In April, the organization courted some controversy when it chose Jane Fonda as one of its 2019 inductees. Greg Lazzaro, supervisor of the town of Seneca Falls, introduced a resolution to end the town board’s support of the nonprofit, The Progressive reported. Lazzaro claimed that Fonda’s 1972 visit to North Vietnam is “viewed by virtually all Veterans as treason to this country.”
The resolution was ultimately defeated in a 4-1 vote after several members of the community came out in support of the Hall.
“As we celebrate more than 50 years of honoring great women, we recognize with gratitude the unwavering support of the Town and residents of Seneca Falls,” the nonprofit said in a statement. “Over a century ago, with the introduction of the Declaration of Sentiments, this town cemented its place in American history standing at the forefront supporting women, progress, and human rights.”
The organization added: “We at the Hall respect differences of opinion, embrace free speech, and honor those who serve our nation.”
The National Women’s Hall of Fame and Davis did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment about her induction. The induction ceremony will take place on September 14 near Seneca Falls, New York.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.