Welcome Home, Angela @ Brandeis' AAAS 50th Anniversary Commemoration
PHOTO: Mike Lovett
SHE HAS COME HOME… ” were the introductory remarks of  The HistoryMakers  Founder and President  Julieanna Richardson , class of ’76, H’16, on  Friday, February 8, 2019  when she introduced the legendary  Angela Davis , class of ’65, who was welcomed back to campus for the first time in twenty four years.
Beginning with a poetry reading by activist/poet  Askia Toure  followed by an amazing panel consisting of  Hamida Abdal-Khallaq ’72;Randall C. Bailey ’69; Roy DeBerry ’7; MA’78, PhD’79; Ricardo Millett ’68, MSW’71, PhD’74; Vere Plummer ’74; Helen Stewart, PhD’80;  and  Patricia Van Story ’72  whose activism as students led to the 1969 Ford Hall Ford Hall takeover at Brandeis where a group of African American students made history with their list of ten demands that led to the creation of the African and African American Studies department. Although there were other takeovers, the second Ford Hall (#FordHall2015) took place in November 2015 and was a thirteen-day student sit-in accompanied by a list of thirteen demands. These two movements reflect the direct action led by black students and other students of color with the goal to promote racial justice and build a more inclusive, equitable and diverse student experience at Brandeis. Students from both demonstrations were in attendance.
Both graduates of Brandeis, Davis and Richardson were brought to campus to commemorate this historic moment which also marked fifty years to the date of the takeover. During their interview where 700 were in attendance, Angela Davis shared stories about time growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, her parents, particularly her mother,and their activism; her relationship with Brandeis professor, mentor and philosopher  Herbert Marcuse  of the Frankfurt School; and studying abroad as a college and graduate student in France and later in Germany at the University of Frankfurt. She then followed Marcuse to the University of California, San Diego where she received her M.A. degree in 1968 and later became assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Though Davis was fired before teaching her first class by the UC Board of Regents at the urging of then-Governor  Ronald Reagan , she was reinstated for a brief period before being terminated for her activism in 1970. She then spoke about her own incarceration and subsequent release from prison. Since then, she has taught and continued her activism on issues like feminism and women’s liberation, the prison industrial complex and mass incarcerations. She also talked about the rise of xenophobia in the era of Trump., Davis reminded the audience about the importance of collective action, “ When people come together in a particular and consorted way, they are capable of moving even the most powerful people in the world .”

A  is for  A lways being on the right side of justice even when times are hard.
is for  N ever giving up even in the darkest hour.
G  is for  G oing forward never backwards because change does not happen with backward action.
E  is for  E nlightenment. That has been her quest and her calling.
L  is for love, because she has true love for humanity; and the second and last
A  of her name is for  A in’t.
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around
Turn me around, turn me around
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around
Keep on a-walkin’, keep on a-talkin’
Gonna build a brand new world.
Saturday,  February 9, 2019  featured various panels on African and African American Studies, Alumni Legacies Panel and Brandeis and Black Studies Panel.  Hortense Spillers , PhD ’74, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor, Vanderbilt University gave a thought provoking address followed by a presentation of  Anita Hill , faculty member of Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
Special thanks to  Chad Williams  the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History at Brandeis, and his team who conceived of this symposium and organized the events, and to all those in attendance and to those who shared their support on social media. KUDOS to you and the Brandeis University community!

The HistoryMakers Interview with Johnnetta Cole
On  Monday, February 11, 2019,  Former College President, Museum Director and Educator  Dr . Johnnetta Cole  was interviewed for The HistoryMakers archives at the offices of the National Association of Negro Women(NCNW) in Washington, D.C. She has just assumed the presidency and chair of NCNW and is the 7 th  in the history of the organization to do so. Cole’s illustrious career will now be part of The HistoryMakers archives at the Library of Congress.
Tune in this month to watch  An Evening With Ken Chenault
A Master Class in Leadership
An Evening With Ken Chenault  is airing nationwide on PBS during Black History Month. Check your local listing for details.
“I came from ancestors who, in fact, were proud to be black. They were industrious and they wanted to live in a just society. They had character and resilience. And I think that is so similar to so many families all over the world who have come to this country. We clearly have to be focused on the differences, but also the commonality of experiences that we have in the United States.”
Ken Chenault
Business & Civic Leader
Former CEO, American Express
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