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January 24, 2003

Congressional Gold Medalist Terrence Roberts, one of the "Little Rock Nine," to Speak at Gavilan College

WHO: Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the nine African American students who gained national attention through the tumultuous integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In the summer of 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark decision striking down segregation in public schools. On Sept. 2 of that same year, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the state's National Guard to surround Little Rock's Central High School to prevent Roberts and eight other African American students from entering for classes, citing the potential for civil disturbance. After weeks of unrest President Dwight Eisenhower sent members of the 101st Airborne Division to Central High to ensure the safety of the students. "The Little Rock Nine" became national symbols of struggle for racial integration.

Little Rock's high schools were closed during the 1958-59 school year, so Dr. Roberts completed his senior year at Los Angeles High School in Los Angeles, California. He continued his education at California State University in Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. He received a Master's degree in social welfare from the UCLA School of Social Welfare, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University. He is currently chair of the master's in psychology program at Antioch University in Los Angeles and has a private psychology practice. In addition, he is CEO of the management consulting firm, Terrence J. Roberts & Associates.

In 1998 Dr. Roberts was honored with a Congressional Gold medal for his contributions in the area of civil rights. He has been the desegregation consultant for the Little Rock Arkansas School District, assisting the district in complying with Federal court orders to desegregate the school system. He serves as a member of various corporate, educational, and foundation boards and is a published author. Today, Terrence Roberts is still dedicated to the eradication of racism in this country. He tries to teach his students to celebrate, rather than negate, racial differences.

WHAT: Will speak on the topic "Lessons From Little Rock," discussing his personal experiences and the continuing problem of racism in America. The public is invited to join Gavilan College students for this presentation. Dr. Roberts will appear at several other community events as well.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 5

10 a.m.- Gavilan College, Gavilan College Gilroy campus, SS214 (open to the public.)
noon - Gavilan College, Gavilan College Gilroy campus, SS214 (open to the public.)
afternoon - Gilroy High School
5 p.m. - Gilroy United Methodist Church, reception (open to the public.)
7:30 p.m. - Gilroy Public Library, "Building Team Universe" (open to the public.)

WHY: This event was organized in honor of Black History Month.

The primary sponsor is the Gavilan College Associated Student Body, with Gavilan College TRIO, Gavilan College Stand Together Group, the Gilroy Library, Gilroy High School, and the Gilroy United Methodist Church.

Last modified: August 17, 2011
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