Phi Beta Cons

Martin Luther King Week

After everybody at the University of Oregon takes the actual Martin Luther King holiday off on January 15, they will be rested up for the myriad events of the Martin Luther King week that the university has planned.  King will be commemorated by, among other things, a candlelight vigil, a documentary on the evacuation of prisoners during Hurricane Katrina, and a lecture by Angela Davis.  According to Discover the Networks, Davis, once an active member of the Communist Party, is still active in radical socialist causes (her lecture is titled “Radical Frameworks for Social Justice”), and she believes that all minorities in jail are actually “political prisoners.”  She is one of only a handful of highly paid “University Professors” in the University of California system.  More on Davis below, from Discover the Networks.  What a pity that Martin Luther King should be so demeaned by these kinds of activities and his ideals so sullied by these sorts of associations.   

In 1970 Davis was implicated by more than 20 witnesses in a plot to free her imprisoned lover, fellow Black Panther and prison thug George Jackson, by hijacking a Marin County, California courtroom and taking the judge, the prosecuting assistant district attorney, and two jurors hostage. In an ensuing gun battle outside the court building, Judge Harold Haley’s head was blown off by a sawed-off shotgun owned by Ms. Davis. To avoid arrest for her alleged complicity in the plot (she supplied the hijackers with a small arsenal, but claimed not to know the purposes for which it was used) Ms. Davis fled California, where she used aliases and changed her appearance to avoid detection. Two months later she was arrested by the FBI in New York City.
At her 1972 trial, Davis presented her version of where she had been and what she had been doing at the time of the shootout; because she was acting as her own attorney, she could not be cross-examined. She presented a number of alibi witnesses, almost all Communist friends, who testified that she had been with them in Los Angeles playing Scrabble at the time of the Marin slaughter. Witnesses who placed her in Marin were dismissed by Davis and her fellow attorneys as being unable to accurately identify blacks — because they were white. Davis’ case was further aided by the pliant nature of the jury, which acquitted her. Following the verdict, one juror faced news cameras and gave a revolutionary’s clenched-fist salute. He laughed at the justice system, saying that prosecutors had been mistaken to expect that the “middle-class jury” would convict Davis. He and most of the jurors then went off to partake in a Davis victory party.  
On July 9, 1975, Russian dissident and Nobel Laureat Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made the following remarks about Angela Davis in a speech he delivered to the AFL-CIO in New York City: 

“There’s a certain woman here named Angela Davis. I don’t know if you are familiar with her in this country, but in our country, literally, for an entire year, we heard of nothing at all except Angela Davis. There was only Angela Davis in the whole world and she was suffering. We had our ears stuffed with Angela Davis. Little children in school were told to sign petitions in defense of Angela Davis. Little boys and girls, eight and nine years old, were asked to do this. She was set free, as you know. Although she didn’t have too difficult a time in this country’s jails, she came to recuperate in Soviet resorts. Some Soviet dissidents–but more important, a group of Czech dissidents–addressed an appeal to her: `Comrade Davis, you were in prison. You know how unpleasant it is to sit in prison, especially when you consider yourself innocent. You have such great authority now. Could you help our Czech prisoners? Could you stand up for those people in Czechoslovakia who are being persecuted by the state?’ Angela Davis answered: `They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.’ That is the face of Communism. That is the heart of Communism for you.” (Solzhenitsyn’s Warning to the West. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976, pp. 60-1 ).

In 1979 Davis was awarded the Intenational Lenin Peace Prize (formerly named the International Stalin Peace Prize) and was also honored by the East German police state. The Soviet government appointed a panel which awarded the Lenin prize annually to individuals who had “strengthened peace among peoples” by advancing the agendas of the Kremlin and its totalitarian regime