Member of ‘Little Rock 9’ to speak at Mansfield

MANSFIELD – Dr. Terrence James Roberts will present “Lessons from Little Rock” at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Mansfield University’s North Manser Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public and is part of MU’s celebration of Black History Month.

Roberts was one of the “Little Rock Nine,” the first African-American students to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957 as part of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to integrate schools.

After the white community rallied in support of segregation, Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Mann asked President Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce integration and, one day later, the President sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock.

Roberts endured conflicts and struggles throughout the 1957-58 school year at Central High School. The following year, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus and the state legislature closed the school as an attempt to oppose integration.

Roberts moved to Los Angeles, Calif., to live with his relatives, where he completed high school in 1959. In 1967, he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and then received a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970. In 1976, he received a doctorate degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

President Clinton awarded members of the “Little Rock Nine” with the Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest award for civilian contributions to society, in 1999.

Roberts is co-chair of the Master’s in Psychology program at Antioch University in California. In 1998, the Little Rock School District hired Roberts as their official desegregation consultant. He provides similar services throughout the U.S.

Roberts also is the chief executive officer of Terrence J. Roberts and Associates, a management consulting firm that focuses on equitable practices in both industry and business.

His lecture will explore salient lessons from Little Rock that inform our decision making today. The presentation will enlighten on the construct of race, explore how our concept of community is embryonic, how the primary tasks of culture continues to elude us and how our spiritual compass seems to be in great need of calibration. Roberts’ goal is to bring us to a greater understanding and awareness on these issues.

The event is sponsored by the Student Activities office in conjunction with the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs. It is funded by Student Activity fees.