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Civil rights museum reoffers honor to Angela Davis

January 25, 2019
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2015 file photo, Angela Davis speaks during her visit to the University of Michigan-Flint, in Flint, Mich. An Alabama civil rights museum has reversed course after a public outcry and has decided to give political activist Angela Davis an award that it offered then rescinded. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said in a statement Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, that its board has voted to reaffirm Davis as the recipient of the human rights award.(Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama civil rights museum reversed course after a public outcry and reinstated a human rights award to activist Angela Davis that it had previously rescinded, the organization announced Friday.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said in a statement that its board has voted to reaffirm Davis, a Birmingham native, as the recipient of the award and has invited her to personally receive it. The statement said the board has not heard if Davis will accept.

“Dr. Angela Davis, a daughter of Birmingham, is highly regarded throughout the world as a human rights activist,” Institute President Andrea L. Taylor said in a statement.

The Birmingham museum sparked protests and criticism earlier this month when it announced that it was abruptly canceling the award to Davis that was supposed to be given at a February gala.

The board withdrew her award after a local Holocaust education group asked it to reconsider. Davis is an outspoken supporter of a movement criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Davis, who turns 75 on Saturday, has spent decades fighting for civil rights. She was an active member of the Black Panther Party, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Communist Party USA.

Board members on Jan. 14 issued a public apology for the discord that resulted from its decision to rescind the award. They said there said there should have been more conversation with diverse points of view before making the decision.

In Friday’s statement, the board said its decision to give Davis the award is “in keeping with its commitment to learning from its mistakes.”

The award is called the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. It is named for the late minister and prominent civil rights activist who led demonstrations in the city.

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