Angela Davis

The History Department is pleased to welcome Angela Davis as the 2020 Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturer.  Professor Davis will join our campus community for a week of interaction, including two public events on April 7th  and April 9th, both of which will take place on the Pomona College campus.

Professor Angela Davis is an internationally-known scholar and an icon in the movement to combat oppression in the U.S. and abroad.  For more than a half century, her work as a writer, teacher, and activist has emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender equality. 

Davis is the author of nine books and numerous articles.  She is the author of the pathbreaking and widely-read Women, Race & Class (1983), as well as Women, Culture & Politics (1990) and Blues Legacies and Black Feminism (1999).  She is a leader in the prisoner abolition movement, reflected in works like If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971), Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), and Abolition Democracy (2005).  Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (2015) demonstrates why she is a world-renowned lecturer on liberation politics.  In addition to her extensive literary output, Davis has been featured in a many films, such as Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975 (2011); Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (2013); and 13th (2016).

Angela Davis’ life in the movement is inseparable from her career in academia, making her a frequent target for institutional efforts seeking to repress the the freedom struggle of the 1960s and 1970s.  When she was appointed to teach in the philosophy department at UCLA in 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan and University of California leadership terminated her contract the following year.  Because of her support of George Jackson and the “Soledad Brothers,” Angela Davis found herself on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list in 1970.  Her capture and arrest led to her eighteen-month incarceration and trial, during which she became the most famous political prisoner of her generation.

In 1972, she was acquitted of all charges.  After her acquittal, Davis re-established her career in academia at an array of preeminent institutions, including the Claremont Colleges. She joined the Black Studies Center, the predecessor to the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies in 1975.  Once again, her hiring incited resistance from administrators, trustees, and donors, resulting in the termination of her appointment after two semesters.

Controversy may have followed Professor Davis wherever she taught, but she managed to craft a career of distinction for more than forty years.  She held appointments at numerous prestigious institutions both in the US and abroad.  Today, she is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she taught for seventeen years.

Angela Davis will join our campus for two events in April 2020.

An Evening with Angela Davis
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Seaver Theater, Pomona College campus

“Radical Agendas and Possible Futures”
Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College campus

Both events are open to the public, though priority will be given to current students of the Claremont Colleges.  In advance of her visit, the History Department will be sponsoring reading groups and film screenings to give campus community an opportunity to engage with her work and life.

We hope you can join us as we welcome Angela Davis to our campus community.  Information about her visit, including how to obtain tickets for her April events, will be announced on this website and on the History Department’s Facebook page in February 2020.

About the Lectureship

Endowed in 1980 through the generosity of Ena H. Thompson, these annual lectures encourage a broader understanding and appreciation of history. Generally held in the spring semester, the lectureship brings a distinguished historian to the Pomona College campus for a week of intensive interaction with students, faculty, and alumni. The visiting lecturers are elected both on the basis of their past contributions to the discipline and of the importance of their current research in advancing the field. Typically, they offer two public lectures on campus during the week of their residency and another lecture for alumni at a dinner event in the greater Los Angeles area.

Past Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturers

2019      Kate Brown
2018      Andrew Bacevich​
2017      James C. Scott
2016      Greg Grandin
2015      Kasia Cwiertka
2014      Tiya A. Miles
2013      Gail Hershatter
2012      Fred M. Donner
2011      Gilbert Gonzales
2010      Thomas R. Metcalf
2009      Louis A.  Pérez, Jr.
2008      Pamela H. Smith
2007      David Roediger / Stanley Nelson
2006      Patricia Ebrey
2005      Dominick La Capra
2004      Robin D. G. Kelley
2003      Gilbert M. Joseph
2002      Patricia Nelson Limerick
2001      Linda Colley
2000      Vicki L. Ruiz / Antonia Castańeda
1999      Allan Bérubé
1998      Lynn Hunt
1997      Peter Brown
1996      Tetsuo Najita
1995      Ramón Eduardo Ruiz
1994      John Higginson
1993      G.W. Bowersock
1992      John H. Elliot
1991      Bernard Bailyn
1990      Ramón Gutiérrez
1989      Wolfgang J. Momsen
1988      Jonathan P. Spence
1987      A.W.B. Simpson
1986      Keith Thomas
1985      Natalie Zemon Davis
1984      Carl E. Schorske
1983      Richard Pipes
1982      Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
1981      Emmanuel Leroy Ladurie
1980      Peter Gay