Former Black Panther and activist, Angela Davis spoke to students, staff and members of the Pueblo community as they gathered in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom on Feb. 20.
Before the event started, students and faculty members were excited to share their feelings about what they anticipated most from the distinguished speaker.
“I believe Angela Davis will have a profound effect on the students because she will be able to share about a turbulent time in our country when civil rights and gender issues were at the forefront of people’s minds,” Director of Affirmative Action and Diversity Resource Center, LaNeeca Williams said.
“Dr. Davis will hopefully share stories of her life and the experiences of being a part of the Black Panthers, while helping our students understand there are still a lot of issues still worth fighting for in our society today,” Williams said.
“I just hope she shares stories of how she initially got started in being a Black Panther and everything they did for the civil rights movement and what not,” Kierra Yarbrough, sophomore, psychology major, said.
Angela Davis talked with attendees about how far we have come as a nation, but clearly stating that we still have a long ways to go. Referencing the days of slavery, Davis told the audience the about issues from our past.
“If slavery hadn’t been abolished, there would have been no need for a civil rights movement,” Davis said.
Davis shared stories on her view on politics as well her thoughts on the lack of knowledge surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation. Davis also shared her take and gave an overview on the evolution of black history.
“Black history in the Americas is the history of the quest for liberation,” Davis said.
“Black history is indeed American history, but it’s also national history. We have to separate our emotional ties,” Davis said.
Following the event, students had mixed feelings about Davis.
“Before I heard Angela Davis speak, I expected an overview of her life and her story. I expected to learn more about her, not about history in general and how it relates to now,” Jordan Marsh, a freshman pre-nursing major, said.
“Angela Davis is an amazing woman and I first remember hearing about her on the BET Honors award show. That’s when I took an interest in Davis. Last year I had an opportunity to hear her speak at the Sisters of Loretto event with Vincent Harding. I hoped that one day I could meet her and I did tonight. I was elated,” Kristen Pough, freshman, mass communications and English double major, said.
“I thought she was very inspirational and her explanation on some of the misconceptions of America in regards to activist movements really had me in awe, not because of who it was coming from but because of events that happened in the past, that I would have never related current situations to,” Tantania Holloway, a junior psychology major said.