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White Supremacists and next week’s visit by Angela Davis

February 5, 2010

This Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Community College Diversity Lecture Series continues with author and activists Angela Davis. Davis will speak at Fountain Street Church on February 10 at 7pm. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Angela Davis has been a writer, speaker and activists for over four decades now. Angela became involved in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, was a member of the Communist Party in the US and later active in the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

In the early 70s she was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list and a target of the agency’s COITELPRO campaign – a counter-intelligence campaign that sought to discredit, harass, imprison or assassinate dissidents in the US. In 1972, Davis became a political prisoner in the State of California.

Since her time in prison Angela Davis has been a professor at several universities in the country, teaching feminist studies and Black history. Davis is the author of several books and has focused her attention and scholarship on the issue of prisons in the US, what she calls the Prison Industrial Complex.

The most recent books by Angela Davis are Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons and Torture, Are Prisons Absolete?, and she wrote an introduction to a new edition of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas. Later this month, City Lights Books will publish her newest book, The Meaning of Freedom.

White Supremacists and other opposition

When it was announced last summer what the schedule for the 2009-2010 GRCC Diversity Lecture series, objections to Davis being a presenter were made public. Grand Rapids Community College Trustee Richard Ryskamp publicly condemned the school’s decision to include Davis on the schedule. Ryskamp was quoted in the Grand Rapids Press as saying, Angela Davis has been a member of the Black Panthers and the Community Party, violent hate groups. She supplied weapons to groups that used them to kill people, and the communists have killed tens of millions of people over the years.”

Ryskamp, who was elected recently as a GRCC trustee, is not shy about his conservative christian worldview, but he was not the only person to object to Davis’s visit. If you read some of the online comments at in response to the article about Ryskamp, you can see that some people have clear issues with Davis speaking in Grand Rapids.

One respondent said, “Funny how when a Black Racist comes to town they are welcomed with open arms and hailed as a champion of free speech. I wonder many of these hypocrites would be defending a KKK member or Neo Nazi if they were speaking. I am willing to bet a lot of money that the same people who idolize this racist would be demanding that the KKK members be barred.”

However, MLive was not the only place that people voiced their objections to Angela Davis. The White Supremacist and white Nationalist website Stormfront also generated a significant amount of coverage at the time of the Press article. Here are a few comments from the site:

“Angela Davis is a communist. Feminist. Former Black Panther. She ran for vice president in 1984 in the Communist Party US. Let’s get involved and stand against filth like this.”

“Is that n**ger still around?!!! Hope you create a major turnout-best of luck to you all!!”

One posting has a quote from John Wilkes Booth – “This country was formed for the White not for the Black man. And looking upon African slavery from the same stand-point, as held by those noble framers of our constitution, I, for one, have ever considered it one of the greatest blessings that God ever bestowed upon a favoured nation.”

It is important for people who attend this lecture to be aware that White Supremacists may be in attendance and might ask questions about “diversity.” 


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Pam permalink
    March 7, 2011 2:42 pm

    For gods sake…Leave Angela alone! It was ok to have the KKK run around and nobody was afraid of them! Stupid! Now Angela, who has been around for yearrrrs is being attacked….STILL…for things SHE believes in. I absolutely love her! And I think, because she is a woman who has a voice, naturally, she is being made to shut up. THAT has gone on for shutting women up!! Go for it Angela and good luck Momma!! Love you! NO wonder our world sucks..nobody gets along and if you dont want to hear/read about her, THEN DONT!!

  2. January 6, 2012 3:12 am

    I hear you Pam, i remember as a kid, seeing Miss Davis on the news almost every
    night lecturing about equality or walking out of a court room because she was arrested
    for something she said or did. Mostly for exercising her rights to speak out.
    As far as the KKK, Just a bunch of blowhard Nazi wind bags,who are no less violent. And they have the track record to prove it.
    I read the White Supremacist propaganda above and i shake my head in shame.
    Im white and they dont speak for me, Thank God.
    Good to hear shes still spreading the message, even if it annoys the hell out of the KKK.

  3. February 10, 2012 5:56 am

    How can you move forward when your whole mantra is blame whitey.You talk like your struggle is the only one this nation has had to face.Breeding like rats, 7 children by 5 different mothers leaving none of them with a father, is hardly any one elses blame. White people could care less about color, its the culture that they can’t handle.

  4. Jeff Smith permalink*
    February 10, 2012 2:24 pm

    Ken, it seems pretty clear that you don’t know shit about what Angela Davis actually has been arguing and fighting for over the past 40 years. This article is 2 years old. My suspicion is that you were trolling for anything on Angela to rant about or you are possibly with one of the White Supremacist groups who came to protest at Fountain Street 2 years ago. So take your racist views somewhere else.

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