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Political activist Angela Davis received multiple standing ovations at Emerson College’s Cutler Majestic Theatre Wednesday night, where she spoke of her 16-month incarceration in the early 1970s, the widespread effort to free her, and the overall importance of arts and culture. The lecture came a day after the Berklee Performance Center hosted “Black Lives Matter: Meaning of Freedom,” a concert put on by Emerson, Berklee College of Music, and Boston Conservatory students in Davis’s honor.

Davis’s invitation to Berklee and Emerson was prompted by recent student protests against discrimination, both in Boston and across the nation. A distinguished professor emerita at the University of California-Santa Cruz, Davis also visited Berklee and Emerson classes discussing African-American history and culture. She continues to fight against all forms of oppression, particularly those related to race and the criminal justice system.

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“It’s critical that we encourage students to be civically minded and engaged members of society,” Emerson president Lee Pelton said in a release. “Angela Davis’s life’s work stands as a reminder of the impact that each of us can make in the world.”


Sonia Rao can be reached at sonia.rao@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @misssoniarao.