Acclaimed educator, author and activist Angela Davis will keynote SUNY Oswego’s 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 9, with a livestream now available for members of the Oswego family.

The event -- which also will feature student performances and readings -- is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the college’s Division of Student Affairs, the celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: A livestream will simulcast to the SUNY Oswego Syracuse campus, any needed overflow rooms on the Oswego campus and in a password-protected manner to remote learners as well as faculty, staff and alumni. Registration is open for online access.

"You should consider attending the MLK Celebration if one of your goals in life is to live with no regrets," said Takayla Beckon, the Student Association president and a member of the event's organizing committee. "Get ready to show up and show out to an amazing celebration of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.!"

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. 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. 

Her teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at Stanford University, UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University and the Claremont Colleges. Most recently she spent 15 years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of history of consciousness –- an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – -and of feminist studies. 

Davis is the author of 10 books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. In recent years, a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early ‘70s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” 

She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her recent books include “Abolition Democracy" and "Are Prisons Obsolete?,” about the abolition of the prison industrial complex; a new edition of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”; and collections of essays including “The Meaning of Freedom” and “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement.” 

Like many educators, Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. 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 what she terms a 21st-century abolitionist movement.

Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia, that works in solidarity with women in prison. 

"I believe Angela Davis is an amazing choice as the keynote speaker because of her versatility in advocacy," Beckon said.

Beckon noted that Davis has been an advocate for the oppressed for decades and left her mark on the world in ways ranging from her activism to the grassroots effort for freeing Davis from prison to taking part in the Black Power Movement. Davis has also authored many influential books including the most recent "Abolition. Feminism. Now.," Beckon said. 

The evening of Feb. 9 also will include special hours (5 to 9 p.m.) for “. . . While Black," an exhibition in Tyler Hall Corner Gallery, room 208, from fall 2021 artist-in-residence Ellen M. Blalock. This site base installation of photographs, quilts and words uses the bird as a metaphor to embody the experience of Black people in relationship to their freedom, past, present and future. Its regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 18.

To continue to ensure the health and safety of the campus community, all spectators ages 5 and up) must show proof of having completed a full COVID-19 vaccination series or recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Visit for more information.

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations to attend this event should contact the SUNY Oswego Office of Campus Life at 315-312-2301 or