Scores of Twitter users sided with longtime Black activist Angela Davis after she was accused of being anti-Semitic over her support of Palestinian rights.
African-American activists rallied Monday in Birmingham and called on an Alabama civil rights museum to reconsider its decision not to give Davis an award as it had originally planned, the Associated Press reported.
The reversal came reportedly at the request of members of Birmingham’s Jewish community.
“This is the ultimate insult to deny Angela Davis her inheritance,” said activist Frank Matthews, who also called for leaders of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to step down.
Davis, a 74-year-old Birmingham native, was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In more recent times, she has turned her attention to human rights across the globe—including the Palestinian struggle for security and a homeland.
It’s often the case that activists who support Palestinian rights are labeled anti-Semitic.
In September, the institute announced that it awarded the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award to Davis. The institute’s CEO, Andrea Taylor, said one month later in a statement that her organization was “thrilled to bestow this honor” on the legendary Black civil rights activist. She was expected to receive the award at a gala in February.
However, on Saturday the institute released a statement saying that in late December supporters and organizations began to raise questions about Davis.
“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. “Therefore, on January 4, BCRI’s Board voted to rescind its invitation to Ms. Davis to honor her with the Shuttlesworth Award. While we recognize Ms. Davis’ stature as a scholar and prominent figure in civil rights history, we believe this decision is consistent with the ideals of the award’s namesake, Rev. Shuttlesworth.”
Mayor Randal Woodfin said the decision followed “protests from our local Jewish community and some of its allies.”
Woodfin, who said he disagreed with the institute’s decision, reportedly sought to mediate between the Black community and the museum.
Calls from the AP to the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the institute were not immediately returned.
But folks on social media had a lot to say about the situation.