Princeton Political Science Professor and popular author Cornel West was arrested along with 18 other protesters in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
West was in Washington to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication Ceremony. After the ceremony, he joined the Occupy D.C. protests, which grew out of the Occupy Wall Street protests, in front of the Supreme Court. The protesters were without a permit and charged with refusing to leave the court grounds and demonstrating with signs, which is prohibited.
West has authored many books, including Race Relations (2001), a collection of essays about race relations in the United States. He is politically liberal and often speaks about his Christian faith and how it informs his political views.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Dedication Ceremony which he attended before the protest contained many of the Occupy Wall Street Movement themes.
West's Facebook page has a photo of him from the protest. He is holding a sign that reads, “poverty is the worst form of violence.”
The Occupy D.C. protest had merged, to some extent, with another protest called “Stop the Machine,” which seeks to end military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, protect the environment and end “concentrated corporate power,” according to its website.
One of West's associates posted an update to West's Twitter and Facebook accounts early Monday morning that reads, “Dr. West will be spending the night behind bars. He has been ordered to appear in court Monday at 1pm est to answer charges of trespassing on the steps of the Supreme Court.”
West is a frequent guest on many news programs and appears often on Fox News' “The O'Reilly Factor.” He was recently in a kerfuffle with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain after he said Cain needs to “get off the symbolic crack pipe.”
Cain had said that racism is no longer a significant factor in holding back blacks from being successful in the United States. Cain, a black man, grew up in a poor family in the segregated South but became a successful businessman.
“I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America. They weren’t held back because of racism. No, people sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve,” Cain said on CNN.
West disagreed, saying, “racism is still holding people back.”
Cain responded to West's comments on Fox News by saying, “That's the difference between someone who has spent their life in academia and someone who has spent their life in the real world. I've been in the real world. He's been in academia, so he's back on this symbolic stuff.”
Prosecutors on Monday said they would not press charges against West.