Angela Davis Exhibition: A Student Reflection

Today’s post was written by library student assistant Lia Chen.

Displayed on the first floor around the staircase of the William H. Hannon Library is an exhibit highlighting Angela Davis. To increase awareness and education during Black History Month, librarians Nicole Murph and Ray Andrade curated this exhibit, which was co-sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center Alliance here on campus. The displays include pictures of Angela Davis throughout her life and career, posters and fliers, pictures of protests, and video documentaries and interviews about Angela Davis.

Angela Davis is an activist, philosopher, Marxist, and professor who champions civil rights and various social justice issues including class, gender, race, and the American imprisonment system. In 1970, Davis was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list due to claims of kidnapping and murder. Following over a year in jail, she was acquitted of all charges. Next to this “Wanted by the FBI” poster in the exhibit is a photo from 1971 of UCLA students protesting against the arrest of Davis. As a university student myself, I think it is extremely powerful to see student protests dating back to the 20th Century. Now, we are often protesting for similar social justice issues, which can be both disheartening and invigorating. It is unfortunate to know that decades later, so many civil rights are still not being upheld equitably; however, I always feel encouraged to employ my First Amendment rights to advocate when there are social inequities and disparities because change happens with momentum.

Angela Davis exhibitAnother part of this exhibit that really stuck with me was watching clips of Davis’s interviews. As a young woman myself, it is empowering to listen to someone with so much knowledge, experience, and passion. I am particularly interested in Davis’s work in abolishing the prison industrial complex because it perpetuates discrimination and exploits the incarcerated. This flawed system is something I need to educate myself more on, and I believe reading some of Davis’s books will help me understand this complex issue further. Another way I can read further on this topic is using the Angela Davis Library Guide that was the last display in this exhibit. This includes publications by Angela Davis, streaming media, databases, and various books and e-books on abolition, the prison industrial complex, and feminism.

With education of the whole person being a root of LMU’s mission, I believe exhibits (and events) such as these push to holistically educate students as well as anyone who comes into the library. I look forward to seeing more exhibits that highlight a variety of social justice movements and activists because it is a fantastic way for many to learn and further their knowledge on fundamental issues.