Activist Angela Davis is a gracious woman has the ability to light up a room and warm up a waiting crowd.
Today's crowd filled the seats at uptown's Booth Playhouse was made up of CMS students.
She said, "I learned very early on how dangerous it was that time to stand up for justice and equality."
Life's first hard lessons would come in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
It was a place well known for its blatant and violent brand of segregation.
However, as a high school student in New York, Davis would take on a civil rights cause that was born here in the Carolinas.
"Every Saturday when I was in High School, I picketed Woolworths," Davis recalled. "Why? Because of the policies of Woolworths in the South."
In the 60's, she was a sympathizer with those who were part of the sit-in movement, but by the 1970's activism with the Black Panthers got her in a lot of trouble.
"I was charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy and I was placed on the F-B-I's 10 most wanted list," she said.
She was eventually acquitted, and her wanted poster remains widely circulated on the internet."
Davis said, "People all over the country got involved in the campaign to free Angela Davis."
Many of those had a chance to touch the person they supported.
Without question, she offered the most memorable storylines of the 1970's, and seeing a well known photo of herself at Gantt Center's" America I Am" exhibit inspires a remarkable personal journey.
" I always felt inspired, because the spirit of struggle is with us. Whenever we're together it seems to rise up again."
One day after the President's State of the Union address, Angela Davis offers these words of caution in what some call a post racial society.
"As prisoners have often said, there may be one black man in the White House, but that doesn't cancel out the fact that there are a million black men in the big house."
Davis who has a PhD in Philosophy is a very much in demand speaker.
Last Month, she turned 69.
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