She is a radical feminist and racial activist who gained fame in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and in 1969 Ronald Reagan attempted to bar the now-professor from teaching at any college in the state of California. 

Now, Angela Davis is coming to Duke.

Duke’s Baldwin Scholars have recruited the scholar-activist to give a talk in the chapel next month. The Baldwins, who invite a distinguished speaker to Duke every year, nominated Davis from among five candidates to give a presentation on the topic of her choosing.

“Angela Davis is a world-renowned activist, scholar, author and academic,” said senior Katie Hammond, chair of the Baldwin Scholars program. “We’re bringing her to campus because obviously right now is a time of intense political discourse in this country, and we believe that she has some interesting ideas about activism that we'd love to hear.”

Since the 1960s, Davis has been involved in grassroots activist movements ranging from civil rights to gender equality and prisoner’s rights. Her radical feminist-activist image has roots in her association with the Black Panther Party, her former membership in the Communist Party USA and her 18-month incarceration following her placement on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in 1970, which provoked an international campaign leading to her acquittal in 1972. 

Today, she is distinguished professor emerita in the history of consciousness and feminist studies departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The talk will take place on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel and is co-sponsored by the African and African American studies department, the gender, sexuality and feminist studies department, the history department, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows, Trinity College and the Women’s Center. The talk is free and open to the public.

“In the coming weeks, the Baldwin community will be preparing for Angela’s visit by inviting guest speakers to our general body meetings who have knowledge of her work,” Hammond said. “That way we will be better prepared to take full advantage of her visit, so we can make sure we are asking the best questions of her when she is here.”