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USCivil Rights institute in Alabama rescinds award for Angela Davis

22:07  07 january  2019
22:07  07 january  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has rescinded its decision to honor activist Angela Davis with its highest award and canceled the annual gala at which she would have received it. Davis is an author and academic known for a life of activism that included memberships in the Black Panther Party and

Civil rights activist Angela Yvonne Davis will speak in Birmingham, Alabama , on March 30, 2013, at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church. On Saturday, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute announced its decision to rescind giving its highest award to Davis after requests to reconsider.

Civil Rights institute in Alabama rescinds award for Angela Davis© Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 06: Angela Davis attends the Groundswell at 20, with Angela Davis at CUNY Graduate Center on April 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

A civil rights institute in Alabama has withdrawn an award for Angela Davis, a longtime radical political activist, author and academic.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's board of directors had chosen Davis to receive its "Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award" at its annual gala next month.

But the institute decided to withdraw the award and cancel the annual gala at which Davis, a Birmingham native, would have been honored.

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Civil rights activist Angela Yvonne Davis will speak in Birmingham, Alabama , on March 30, 2013, at Born in Birmingham on Jan. 26, 1944, Davis experienced racial prejudice while growing up in Previous winners of the Shuttlesworth award have included: Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover

Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, academic, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s working with the Communist Party

The decision came after "supporters and other concerned individuals and organizations, both inside and outside of our local community, began to make requests that we reconsider our decision," the institute's board said in a statement.

"Upon closer examination of Ms. Davis' statements and public record, we concluded that she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based," the statement said.

The board said it recognizes Davis's "stature as a scholar and prominent figure in civil rights history" but believes its decision "is consistent with the details of the award's namesake, Rev. Shuttlesworth."

The board apologized to "our supporters, the community and Ms. Davis for the confusion we have caused."

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Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin says the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 's decision to rescind its invitation to honor Birmingham native and long-time, outspoken activist Angela Davis "harks The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute this week canceled its plan to honor her with an award .

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding for the significance Global human rights activist, scholar, author and Birmingham native Angela Davis will receive the 2018 Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award , the

Mayor cites protests from local Jewish officials, allies

It is unclear why the group made the decision.

CNN has contacted officials at the institute for more clarity on what the concerns were and why they made the move. Davis could not be reached for comment.

The Birmingham mayor, Randall Woodfin, noted in a statement his "overriding feeling is one of dismay" after the board chose to revoke the "honor after protests from our local Jewish community and some of its allies." CNN has also contacted the Birmingham Jewish Federation for a reaction.

Davis had been a member of the Communist Party and the Black Panther Party. She has been sharply critical of Israeli policies toward Palestinians and backs the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

One Jewish outlet, Southern Jewish Life, posted a story about the upcoming award in December, saying, "For some in the community, there might be some indigestion at the dinner over this year's honoree."

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A biopic of prominent civil rights activist Angela Davis is in development. Angela Davis is better at improvising through her talent, beauty and natural screen presence. At any rate, playing the new Aunt Esther, the Cher Life-Story or Norma Raye might warrant another Academy Award attempt.

Named for civil rights hero and Southern Christian Leadership Conference co-founder Frederick Lee Shuttlesworth, the honor is given to those who have “We are thrilled to bestow this honor on Angela Davis , and excited about her return to her hometown of Birmingham, which is the very launching pad

"Something not included in the Institute's publicity for the event is that Davis has also been an outspoken voice in the boycott-Israel movement, and advocates extensively on college campuses for the isolation of the Jewish state, saying Israel engages in ethnic cleansing and is connected to police violence against African-Americans in the United States," the story said.

'This controversy might have been avoided entirely'

Mayor Woodfin says he regretted the move by the institute because it failed "to create an opportunity for necessary consensus dialogue."

"I am dismayed because this controversy might have been avoided entirely, had it been handled differently. I am dismayed because, as has been the case throughout Birmingham's history, people of good will behaved reflexively, rather than engaging in meaningful discourse over their differences and seeking common ground," Woodfin said in a statement.

"Throughout my life, I have been a person who tries to see and understand all reasonable points of view on any given issue. As mayor, I believe that quality is an essential part of my job, a means of encouraging interchange and forging the consensus necessary to arrive at fair and workable solutions to any issue or opportunity that confronts us as a city."

CNN has not heard back yet from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute or the Birmingham Jewish Federation.

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