Activist Angela Davis Returns to UCLA

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    Activist Angela Davis returns to UCLA in May 2014, nearly 45 years after she was forced out of the UC system because she was a member of the Communist Party. In this photo, she attends the 28th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/Getty Images)

    Nearly 45 years after Angela Davis was relieved from her duties as a teacher at UCLA because of her controversial political affiliations, the civil rights activist is back in the classroom.

    Davis’ days as a Bruin didn’t last long as then-Gov. Ronald Reagan urged the UC Board of Regents to fire Davis because she was a member of the Communist Party.

    Davis taught at the university, who defended her right to teach there, during the 1969-1970 academic year, according to a news release from UCLA.

    "I never in my wildest imagination would have thought accepting the position here at UCLA would have led to that kind of notoriety," said Davis, now 70. "I wasn’t seeking notoriety. I just wanted to be a teacher and an activist."

    Now, Davis is returning to the university as a Distinguished Professor Emerita for the spring semester. Twenty-five students across different academic disciplines will learn about feminism and African-American history.

    Jenny Sharpe, the Gender Studies department chair, said Davis was nominated for the position after professors and students expressed interest in her return.

    "Since the Board of Regents fired her in 1970 for her radical politics, and UCLA defended her on the basis of academic freedom, we thought it would be poetic justice for her to return to UCLA as a Regents’ Lecturer," Sharpe said.

    Davis previously taught the history of consciousness and feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz between 1991 and 2008.

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