The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has decided not to honor activist Angela Davis next month with its highest award amid backlash from dissenters.
The decision to rescind the honor came after “supporters and other concerned individuals and organizations, both inside and outside of our local community, began to make requests that we reconsider our decision,” the institute’s board said in a statement posted to its website.
The annual Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award Gala scheduled for Feb. 16, during which Davis would have been bestowed the honor, was also canceled.
The board said it recognizes Davis’ “stature as a scholar and prominent figure in civil rights history” but believes its decision “is consistent with the details of the award’s namesake, Rev. Shuttlesworth.”
“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 board said.
Davis, 74, an author and academic known for a life of activism that included memberships in the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party USA, is a Birmingham, Alabama, native who experienced segregation there as a child.
The board apologized to supporters, the community and Davis “for the confusion we have caused.”
Ticket purchases will be fully refunded for the event.