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Political activist Angela Davis to keynote University of Michigan’s 34th annual MLK Symposium

Angela Davis will deliver the keynote address at University of Michigan's MLK Symposium on Monday.
Angela Davis will deliver the keynote address at University of Michigan's MLK Symposium on Monday. (Angela Davis)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan will be holding its 34th annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium at Hill Auditorium on Jan. 20 starting at 10 a.m.

Known for her work in the fields of social, racial, economic and gender justice, political activist, author and educator Angela Davis will be delivering the keynote address.

“We are extremely pleased that such an extraordinary leader and educator will join us for this special day of commemoration,” Lumas J. Helaire, associate director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives told The Record. “Dr. Davis is uniquely poised to speak to our community about the drive and ability to advocate for equality and justice.”

A controversial figure, Davis was a leader of the Communist Party in the 1960s and had ties to the Black Panther Party. In 1969, she made national headlines for being stripped of her teaching position at the University of California, Los Angeles for her political activities.

In 1972 she was acquitted of all charges after being placed in the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list two years prior for allegedly purchasing a gun that was used to kill a judge in Marin County, California.

U-M has been holding the Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium annually since 1986, and it is one of the largest university celebrations of MLK Day in the country.

Each year, faculty, staff and students determine a theme based on the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and current social justice issues.

According to a press release: “This year’s theme, ‘The (Mis)Education of US,’ acknowledges that although we live in a diverse society, we have not been adequately educated on who we are and how we can best learn, live and prosper together.”

The U-M MLK Symposium is free and open to the public.

For those unable to attend, the event will be livestreamed here.

The keynote lecture is organized by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusions’ Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and is co-sponsored by Michigan Athletics and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business with support from the William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Fund.

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