Anyone who thinks Black History Month is passe and the struggle is over should listen to Angela Davis.
The civil rights activist, widely known for her radical views on American politics during the 1960s and '70s, was the featured speaker Wednesday at Georgia College & State University's Flagg Legacy Social Justice Lecture.
"It has been 87 years since the introduction of the first Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson ... in its earliest days ... it was a celebration of black people's accomplishments in a racist world that devalued, undermined, and even erased the contributions of black people," said Davis speaking to several hundred people in the college's Centennial Center.
The lessons and accomplishments of current and past black history makers are as important today as ever, said Davis, who was found not guilty in the early '70s after spending 18 months in jail in connection to the kidnapping and death of a judge to free a Black Panther.
"We used to have a week, now we have a month and since we began to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King ... we have a month and a half, then we can extend that into March because March is Women's History Month," she said.
Black History Month was and is a significant strategy and lifeline for black communities' collective survival and cultural development, said Davis.
Davis, a professor who has taught at several colleges and the author of nine books, acknowledged the progress the country has made, particularly with the election and re-election of President Barack Obama. She said the racist policies of the past and even recent oppressive practices are largely perpetrated by white men, "who controlled the destiny of this country."
"It's important for us to reflect on the most recent election. The majority of white men voted for Romney," said Davis. "Who's he?" she joked "He faded in the background really quick didn't he? If you look at who voted for Obama, 96 percent of black women voted for Obama, 87 percent of Latino women, the majority of white women and all the other people who stood for justice that day won out over the will of white men.
"This is a new day in the United States of America," Davis said to a thunderous applause.
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