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Presented By: Bentley Historical Library

"Keeping resistance alive": Chandler Davis and Academic Freedom at Michigan

"Making Michigan" panel: Steve Batterson, Peggie Hollingsworth, Alan Wald, Gary Krenz

Chandler Davis in the 1950s and 1990s Chandler Davis in the 1950s and 1990s
Chandler Davis in the 1950s and 1990s
H. Chandler Davis — courageous, stalwart and lifelong champion of academic and intellectual freedom in the face of persecution, including his own imprisonment — passed away on September 24, 2022, at the age of 96. He was a former instructor at the University of Michigan who, in 1954, was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He and others from U-M l were “unfriendly witnesses, refusing to confess” their political dissent. Davis, unlike the others, based his refusal to answer only on the First Amendment, waiving his protection under the Fifth Amendment. Thereby he deliberately invited a citation for Contempt of Congress, so as to give himself standing to argue in court that the Committee’s proceedings were unconstitutional. He got the citation, but he did not prevail in court; his appeals were exhausted in 1959 and he served prison time in 1960. This Making Michigan will reflect on Davis’s life, actions and legacy at U-M and beyond and will seek to understand and recognize his contributions. Panelists include Steve Batterson, author of a forthcoming bio of Davis; Peggie Hollingsworth, founding chair and longtime director of the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund; and Alan Wald, expert on the political left in the US and Davis's contributions to it.

This event is both in-person at the Judy and Stanley Frankel Detroit Observatory on the U-M campus and virtually on YouTube.

As with other Detroit Observatory events, in-person attendees may tour the Observatory after the conclusion of the panel, with stargazing if weather permits.

Livestream Information

February 2, 2023 (Thursday) 7:00pm

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