Tamba-Kuii Bailey in spotlight with activist icon Angela Davis for 'Great Conversation' Feb. 6


Kate Menzies

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Tamba-Kuii Bailey in spotlight with activist icon Angela Davis for 'Great Conversation' Feb. 6

University of North Dakota Assistant Professor Tamba-Kuii Bailey will share the Chester Fritz Auditorium stage with an icon of civil rights activism at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, when Angela Davis comes to campus for the latest installment of the University's "Great Conversations" series.

Bailey has been chosen to be the facilitator for the upcoming conversation, which is sponsored by the University Program Council (UPC). He's been working this week to compile a list of questions for Davis, a leading voice of opposition, since the 1960s, on issues such as war, racism, sexism, the prison industrial complex, the death penalty, and a champion for gay rights.

"I am thrilled and honored to serve as the facilitator of the 'Great Conversation' with Angela Davis," Bailey said. "It is a rare opportunity to interview one of the great intellectual minds and human rights activist of 20th and 21st centuries. Angela Davis has influenced a generation of activists and continues to stand on the front lines fighting against oppression and disenfranchisement of marginalized people."

Bailey has served four years as a faculty member in the UND Department of Counseling Psychology and Community Services. His background and research interests make him uniquely qualified and the perfect designee to interview Davis. His studies broadly defined, are in the areas of "Black Psychology and Multicultural Psychology." More specifically, his research interests focus on racial oppression, internalized racial oppression, liberation psychology, and multicultural competencies development. He also studies racial identity development and the impact of racism.

"As a child, I grew up with parents who were actively involved in the civil and human rights movements," Bailey said. "While attending planning meetings, painting picket signs, and marching in demonstrations, I was exposed to the works of Angela Davis and many other activists and freedom fighters."

Those early life events fueled Bailey's desire to explore and understand the impact of racism on African Americans and other people of Color. His graduate training in African American Studies and Counseling Psychology afforded also him the opportunity to examine the psychological impact of racial oppression and internalization of racial oppression within the African American community and develop ways of addressing these phenomena.

"I view these life-shaping experiences as instrumental in my preparation to take on this role as the facilitator of the Great Conversation with Angela Davis," he said.

Bailey also teaches courses in multicultural counseling, counseling methods, ethics and Black psychology, as well as co-advisor for the UND Black Student Association.

The Great Conversation with Angela Davis is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception and book signing with Davis at UND's new Gorecki Alumni Center, next door to the auditorium.

UND Great Conversations traditionally have been done with a fairly intimate flair in which the facilitator and the interviewee sit closely, across from one another, on stage before an audience. The facilitator sets the tone for the conversation with a series of questions before opening it up to the public.

The conversations, which have featured well-known people such as UND alumnus and legendary NBA basketball coach Phil Jackson, UND alumnus and Hollywood character actor Sam Anderson, and JFK speechwriter and historian Ted Sorensen, have provided UND students, faculty, staff and the Greater Grand Forks community the opportunity to see, hear and interact with live history. The next conversation, with Davis, will be a rare chance for the public to interact with someone who was involved in areas of social activism including the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party, Communist Party and was the third woman to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

More about Angela Davis

Born on Jan. 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, Angela Davis is best known as a radical African American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues. As early as 1969, Davis began publicly speaking, voicing her opposition to the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, the prison industrial complex, the death penalty and her support of gay rights.

As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, she joined the Black Panthers, but spent most of her time working with the Che-Lumumba Club, which was an all-black branch of the Communist Party.

In 1970, Davis purchased the firearms used in an attack that killed a judge, juror, prosecutor and three prison inmates that attempted to escape after holding a courtroom hostage. Because of California State Law, Davis was charged with "aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder in the death of Judge Harold Haley" and a warrant for her arrest was issued. Four days after the initial warrant was issued, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover made Angela Davis the third woman to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

Soon after, Davis became a fugitive and fled California. Upon catching her, President Richard M. Nixon congratulated the FBI on its "capture of the dangerous terrorist, Angela Davis". After spending 18 months behind bars, Davis was acquitted of all charges.

Angela Davis also ran for Vice-President along with the veteran party leader of the Communist Party, Gus Hall. However, several years later she separated from the Communist Party, leaving it to help found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

Davis has continued a career of activism, and a principal focus of her current activism is the state of prisons within the United States. Considering herself an abolitionist, not a "prison reformer," Davis was one of the primary founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison system.

In 1997, she declared herself to be a lesbian in Out magazine and is now an activist for GLBTQ rights.

Today she is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches courses on the history of consciousness. Dr. Davis is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003).

About UPC

The University Program Council (UPC) is a division of Student Government whose objective is to educate, entertain and challenge UND students through entertainments as well as cultural and educational programming. In an effort to achieve this goal, the UPC presents to the campus community a variety of events including, but not limited to: music events, performing arts, speakers, Union and special events, cinema events, and diversity events. All funds received and used by the UPC are from student fees.

Kate Menzies

University Relations student writer

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