According to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Award is the highest recognition given out by the institute and is rewarded to people who have made "significant contributions to civil and human rights."
"Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Dr. Angela Y. Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world," BCRI said in a statement per Alabama.com. "Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities united in the struggle for economic, racial and gender justice."
The virtual ceremony was hosted by Professor D. Wendy Greene who interviewed Davis. Similar to Davis, Greene has put together a groundbreaking career, as she was the first Black woman to be a tenured law professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.
Davis is a native of Birmingham. Since her late teens, Davis has been committed to enacting political and racial change in America. She grew to have close affiliations with the Black Panther Party and other movements looking to advance Black people in the U.S. Yet, Davis' fight for freedom wasn't limited to communal growth.
In 1970, Davis' alignment with the Soledad Brothers made her the subject of a criminal investigation. She was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list before surrendering in January 1971. During her time in solitary confinement, Davis worked closely with her lawyers to mount a defense that eventually led to her acquittal. Since then, she has continued her intense activism and career in academia.