The protest movements of the 1970’s were born out of frustration over the Vietnam War and gave birth to militant activists fighting for feminism, free speech, the environment, and against racism.
Out of this era rose Angela Davis, a one-time member of the Black Panther Party, and the vice-presidential nominee for the Communist Party USA. She was charged with conspiracy to murder – but later acquitted – regarding a shooting in Marin County that landed her on the FBI’s most wanted list.
An image that made her an icon.
Dr. Deems Morrione, COC professor of political science, has high praise for the activist: “Angela Davis was a pioneer. I mean, call her what she is, she’s a pioneer. She was somebody who was right there at the beginning, she’s a voice that needs to be heard from.”
And this controversial figure is speaking at the College of Canyons, part of the anti-racism speaker series called “An Afternoon with Dr. Angela Davis,” and per campus administrators, the event is intended to bring a diverse voice to the campus to inspire others to get involved in the community and to learn to speak out.
COC English professor Ruth RassoolI believes “it’s important, particularly in a community like this, that we celebrate the diversity we do have.”
But there are many in the community who see Dr. Davis in a different light, including KHTS Station owner Carl Goldman.
He claims “she’s a radical activist, a left-wing marxist.”
With one-sided political speech on college campuses being a part of the growing political culture war raging across the country, it’s no different here, as the absence of an opposition voice for future events has fueled claims of bias.
“I understand that the college wanted to put on a series of seminars on anti-racism, which we applaud, but our belief is they should be doing it from all different sides of the spectrum… If they wanted to put a left-wing person in there, a progressive person, there are dozen of others they could have selected from without the checkered background she has,” says Goldman.
Regardless of the differing opinions, the event is sold out and will be held this coming Saturday at the campus Performing Arts Center.