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Terrence Roberts, One of the Little Rock Nine, Anchors MLK Birthday Celebration at W&L

Terrence J. Roberts, one of the nine African-American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957, will deliver the keynote speech of Washington and Lee University’s celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

Roberts gives his talk, “Lessons from Little Rock,” on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. in Lee Chapel on the W&L campus.

Other King birthday events from Jan. 19 to Jan. 27 include presentations by Washington and Lee professors and a North Carolina district judge, an “I Have a Dream” concert, a King birthday party for local children, community service and a Sunday supper of reflections. All events are free and open to the public, and all will take place on the W&L campus, except for the Jan. 19 “I Have a Dream” concert. See below for details on all events.

In 1957, then 15-year-old Terrence Roberts volunteered to integrate the Little Rock school along with eight other students. It had been three years since the Supreme Court’s historic decision, Brown v. Board of Education, abolished legal segregation in public schools. When the students’ initial efforts to enroll failed, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent troops to enforce the law and protect the students.

Roberts is the CEO of T. Roberts & Associates, a management consulting firm in Pasadena, Calif. He holds a B.A. in sociology, a master of social work and a Ph.D. in psychology. His long career has encompassed academic administration, student services, mental health services, university teaching and social work. Roberts serves on the boards of the Western Justice Center Foundation and the Little Rock Nine Foundation, among other organizations.

He has written the books “Lessons from Little Rock” and “Simple, Not Easy: Reflections on Community, Social Responsibility and Tolerance,” as well as articles and chapters for books and journals.

For his contributions to civil rights, Roberts has received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on Women and the Congressional Gold Medal, among other awards.

On Jan. 21, the W&L Law School presents a talk on bias in the courtroom by North Carolina District Court Judge Louis A. Trosch, a member of W&L’s Class of 1988. He has pioneered the application of social-science research on implicit bias in his own courtroom, and more broadly within the judicial system. Julie Woodzicka, W&L professor of psychology, will discuss how research on implicit bias is transforming the understanding of King’s vision for the U.S. The presentation takes place at 3 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Lewis Hall.

On Jan. 22, Ted DeLaney, professor of history at W&L, will discuss his 2012 Spring Term class on the Freedom Ride, which spent two weeks visiting sites associated with the civil rights movement. His presentation takes place from 12:20 to 1:15 p.m. in Elrod Commons Room 345.

On Jan. 24,  W&L’s African-American Studies Program presents a discussion of the re-election of President Barack Obama. Participants include Timothy Diette, professor of economics, and Mohamed Kamara, professor of French, with others to be announced. The time and place also will be announced.

The King celebration is sponsored by Washington and Lee’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion: Division of Student Affairs, along with the Martin Luther King Planning Committee, the W&L School of Law, the W&L Department of Music, the W&L African-American Studies Program, the Tau Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Office of the Provost.

Washington and Lee University
Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
Jan. 19-27, 2013

All events are free and open to the public. All events are on the W&L campus except the Jan. 19 concert.

Saturday, Jan. 19

7:30 p.m.— Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Concert
First Baptist Church, 103 N. Main St., Lexington
Featuring choirs from W&L and the Rockbridge Youth Chorale
Reception to follow

Sunday, Jan. 20

7 p.m.— Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speaker: Terrence J. Roberts
Lee Chapel
Reception to follow in Elrod Commons Living Room

Monday, Jan. 21

Noon-3 p.m.— Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Party
Elrod Commons Living Room
Games, fun and food for the children of Rockbridge County
All children must be accompanied by an adult

3 p.m. — Bias in the Courtroom and the Judicial System
Louis A. Trosch, Judge, North Carolina District Court
Julie Woodzicka, W&L Professor of Psychology
Millhiser Moot Court Room, Lewis Hall

Wednesday, Jan. 23

12:20-1:15 p.m. — The Civil Rights Movement: The Freedom Riders
Ted DeLaney, W&L Professor of History
Elrod Commons Room 345

Thursday, Jan. 24

12:20–1:15 p.m — The Re-Election of President Barack Obama
W&L’s African-American Studies Program
Elrod Commons Room 345

Saturday, Jan. 26

9 a.m. — Community Service Projects
Evans Dining Hall

Sunday, Jan. 27

7 p.m. — Sunday Supper and Reflections
Members of the Washington and Lee and Lexington communities will reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and his impact on contemporary society.
Evans Dining Hall
This event is free, but please RSVP to officeofdiversityandinclusion@wlu.edu by Sunday, Jan. 20, so there will be enough food.

News Contact:
Julie Campbell
Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs