Cheyney University Blog

PRESIDENT'S BLOG - April 2014 - Angela Davis - An Intellectual Bridge to the Future

April 21, 2014

As she walked onto the stage, an audience of nearly 500 people sprung to their feet to give Angela Davis a standing ovation.  This was the second standing ovation Ms. Davis received that day.  As someone told me after the presentation--" it was for what she did for us." The first standing ovation was from faculty, students, and other supporters of the Keystone Honors program who sponsored the Angela Davis lecture and conversed with Ms. Davis during the dinner prior to the presentation.

Standing tall, wearing an easy fitting black leather blazer, employing only an engaging voice punctuated with helpful hand gestures, for nearly an hour Angela Davis captivated a full-house of receptive students, alumni, and other guests at Cheyney University's Marian Anderson Music Hall with intractably woven historical and current perspectives on the struggle for freedom, moments in the Civil Rights movement, the role of the penal system in American and other countries, and the need for a broad base of bottom-up, positive social action that will demand and effect change. This was all accomplished from a overall, but not overbearing, feminist perspective.

The Angela Davis of 2014, just entering her 70th decade of life, is still fiery, deeply intellectual, committed to the understanding of freedom, and very attractive with a full head of curly brown hair.  She is a wonder to behold, an intellectual bridge from the not too distant past to the yet to be realized future.

The hosting of the Angela Davis lecture by the Keystone Honors Program presentation punctuated the need to explore different world views and the essential responsibility of Cheyney University to expose students to such perspectives.

Listening to her recount the people and the incidents of the Civil Rights Movement linking them to the current American societal and educational challenges illustrated how this American icon continues to urge us on towards a broader base of freedom that is won by the people and shared by the people.

After the presentation, Angela Davis stayed for at least an hour more to sign copies of books from those in the audience. It took me nearly an hour to leave the auditorium. Many faculty, alumni, staff, and guests stopped to talk about Ms. Davis' positive message, her eloquent delivery, and her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.  Many commented on her youthful appearance and her keen insights into the power of broad-based positive social action.

After getting a copy of my book signed for my daughter, my husband and I finally left the auditorium content that we had brought this legacy to a Cheyney University.


Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.
President
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Tags: Angela Davis , Cheyney University , Civil Rights Movement , Keystone Academy

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