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Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of Little Rock Nine, guest speaker for MLK Day event

Dr. Terrence Roberts, guest speaker
Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine, will be the guest speaker for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemoration on Jan. 20.

Penn State Hazleton will host a regional event to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 20 in the campus physical education building. The event, for students, faculty and staff from surrounding Penn State campuses, will start with breakfast at 9:00 a.m., followed by guest speaker Terrence J. Roberts, Ph.D., noted author, educator, activist and speaker. Roberts presentation is titled “Lessons from Little Rock,” which is also the title of his 2009 book.

Roberts was one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. On September 4, 1957, Roberts and eight other African American students (known as the Little Rock Nine) made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School. Despite the presence of the National Guard, an angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school.

The National Guard was removed with the protection of the students left to the local police. On September 23, 1957, a mob of about 1,000 people surrounded the school as the students attempted to enter. The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to accompany the students to school for protection. The troops were stationed at the school for the entirety of the school year, although they were unable to prevent incidents of violence inside.

As a result of the subsequent closing of Little Rock’s high schools during the 1958-1959 school year, Roberts completed his senior year in Los Angeles, California.

He continued his education at California State University, Los Angeles and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1967. He received his master’s degree in social welfare from the UCLA School of Social Welfare in 1970, and his Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1976.

From 1975 to 1977 he was a member of the faculty at Pacific Union College, a private liberal arts college in Napa Valley, California. He then served as director of Mental Health at St. Helena Hospital and Health Center from 1977 to 1985.

He became assistant dean of the UCLA School of Social Welfare in 1985 before joining Antioch University Los Angeles in 1993 where he served as core faculty and co-chair of the Master of Arts in Psychology program until 2008.

He is currently principal of the management-consulting firm, Terrence Roberts Consulting, a management consultant firm devoted to fair and equitable practices.

A much sought after speaker and presenter, Roberts maintains a private psychology practice and lectures and presents workshops and seminars on a wide variety of topics.

In 1999, Roberts and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton. He also has received the Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal. He serves on the boards of the Economic Resources Center in Southern California, the Western Justice Center Foundation, and the Little Rock Nine Foundation.

Roberts and his wife Rita are the parents of two adult daughters and live in Pasadena, California.

For additional information, contact the Penn State Hazleton Office of Student Affairs at 570-450-3160.

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