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Activist Angela Davis to visit OU, speak at Big XII Conference

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Angela Davis Poster

The poster for Angela Davis' keynote speech.

The Big XII Conference on Black Student Government will host activist, scholar and writer Angela Davis as a keynote speaker on Feb. 21.

Davis has been involved with the Black Panthers and the feminist movement, as well as numerous other social and political movements, said Miles Francisco, co-chair of the event’s speakers committee and political science and African and African American studies senior. Davis is also a longtime professor and the author of multiple books on class, race and feminism, including Women, Culture and Politics, according to Biography.com.

Francisco said Davis exemplifies the theme of this year’s conference, “Generation Us: Unifying Blackness Through Social Change.”

“Angela Davis is probably the best example of black activism throughout four or five decades, honestly,” Francisco said.

Securing Davis as a keynote speaker required persistence and has been in the works for a while, Francisco said. 

“We sketched out a plan, a vision for what we wanted this conference to look like as far as the keynote speakers went,” he said. “We wanted to be really intentional about showing multiple issues in the black community, multiple identities.” 

The Big XII Conference for Black Student Government brings together black undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff from Big 12 universities and other universities across the country to learn about leadership, participate in workshops and hear keynote speakers. Since different Big 12 universities take turns hosting the event, this is the first time it has been held at OU since 2012, Francisco said.

Registration for the 2020 Big XII Conference is currently closed, according to the website. One hundred OU students are among those registered to attend, Francisco said.

Davis will speak at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the event.

“I think (Davis) just epitomizes the beauty of blackness, and the beauty of organizing and activism and radically imagining a better world,” Francisco said.

Molly Kruse is a journalism senior and assistant culture editor at the Daily. She previously worked as culture reporter, copyeditor and social media coordinator.

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