DC Public Library to host Angela Davis, former fugitive Communist Party member

The D.C. Public Library (DCPL) is hosting a discussion next week with Angela Davis, a former Communist Party member and fugitive from the FBI.

Davis, who was an active member of the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party of the United States of America, will speak on March 15 to a sold-out crowd at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the taxpayer-funded DCPL’s central facility.

Davis, 78, an abolitionist who gained notoriety in the 1960s and ’70s, was charged with murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy in 1970 after authorities linked her to the purchase of weapons that were later used by three inmates, who took a judge and juror hostage during their trial for killing a prison guard.

Law enforcement officials responded with a barrage of bullets and the inmates and judge died. Davis was accused of providing weapons used in the incident and was put on the FBI list until she was captured in 1972. She spent 16 months in prison before she was acquitted of all charges.

Angela Davis speaks at Mills College on Oct. 23, 1969. (Duke Downey/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)


Davis has since authored ten books and become a leading activist of the abolitionist movement, which seeks to abolish U.S. policing and prisons. In 1997, she co-founded Critical Resistance, a national organization that seeks to dismantle what it describes as the prison industrial complex.

The DCPL’s event description for its “conversation” with Davis next week makes no mention of her past affiliation with the Communist and Black Panther parties. 

Activist and author Angela Davis

Activist and author Angela Davis (PBS)

“Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world,” the event description reads. “Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.”

“Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions,” it reads. “Having helped to popularize the notion of a ‘prison industrial complex,’ she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.”

Social justice icon Angela Davis (center) at the May Day demonstrations along Market Street, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in San Francisco, Calif.

Social justice icon Angela Davis (center) at the May Day demonstrations along Market Street, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in San Francisco, Calif. (Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

The event is part of the DCPL’s recognition of women’s history month.

The library told Fox News Digital in an email that Davis would focus on her “scholarship” at the event, “which emphasizes the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.”

“DC Public Library is committed to intellectual freedom and the exchange of ideas,” a spokesperson wrote. “We recognize that some may agree with those ideas and others may not. While the views expressed are not necessarily those of the library, the library, as a safe space free of judgement and censorship, is the ideal venue for all ideas to be expressed whether through lectures, books in the collection or community discussions. We welcome all individuals to engage with our programs and collections, and we encourage them to draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions about what they read and attend.”


“The Library receives feedback on a range of programs it hosts, including both positive and negative feedback,” the spokesperson added. “We should note that for this particular event, our customers have claimed tickets as quickly as they have been made available, indicating strong interest in hearing from Professor Davis.”

Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.

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