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ATLANTA, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A political activist who is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad and the first African woman writer to have a play on Broadway, will address graduates during Spelman College’s commencement celebrations for the classes of 2020 and 2021 in separate, in-person ceremonies on May 16, 2021.

 Scholar, writer, philosopher and equal rights activist Angela Y. Davis will deliver the keynote address for Spelman College’s 134th Commencement ceremony honoring the graduating class of 2021 during an outdoor ceremony at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 16, at the Georgia Institute of Technology Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Tony-nominated playwright and actress Danai Gurira, best known for her roles as General Okoye in Marvel’s 2018 Academy Award-winning blockbuster film “Black Panther” and Michonne in the AMC series “The Walking Dead will deliver a keynote address to the class of 2020 during Spelman’s 133rd Commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 16, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

During the ceremonies, both Davis and Gurira will receive honorary degrees. Literary luminary Pearl Cleage, C’71, will receive Spelman’s 2021 national community service award, and HBCU champion U.S. Rep. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., (D-NC) will be honored with the 2020 national community service award.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 with a set of obstacles unlike any other, and they have proven that they were up to the task,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.  “Although their lives were essentially put on pause, these two classes displayed resilience and courage, and thrived despite the tremendous challenges presented by the pandemic. We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our stellar graduates and their families.”

Due to closures related to the coronavirus pandemic, graduation celebrations for the class of 2020 were postponed until this year. Both ceremonies will take place rain or shine, and follow masking and physical distance guidelines in accordance with current COVID-19 restrictions to ensure the health and safety of graduates and guests.

Angela Y. Davis

Davis’ leadership in addressing seminal equity and social justice challenges spans more than 50 years. Now a distinguished professor emerita in the Division of Humanities at the University of California Santa Cruz, she gained national attention in 1969 after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party.

In 1970, she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on false charges and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground and culminated in a trial that received global attention. During her 16-month incarceration, a massive international “Free Angela Davis” campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

Over the last 25 years, Davis has lectured about racism, sexism, terrorism, LGBTQ rights, immigration, feminism, and the criminal justice system in all 50 states, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union. Named Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1971 and a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, she has written articles and essays that have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Davis is the author of nine books, including “Angela Davis: An Autobiography,” and a new edition of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Courtesy of