“Lessons from Little Rock” is Subject of Presentation

November 7, 2013

Lessons from Little Rock” will be the subject of an upcoming presentation at Bradley University by Dr. Terrence Roberts, 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 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The presentation, part of Bradley's year-long observance of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, will take place on November 20 at 6 p.m.in the Michel Student Center ballroom. Admission is free and open to the public.

Terrence James Roberts and eight other African American students made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School on September 4, 1957. 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 1000 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 entire school year, although they were unable to prevent incidents of violence inside.

Following high school graduation, Roberts went on to continue his education at California State University in Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1967. He received a 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. He was on the faculty at Pacific Union College, was assistant dean in the UCLA School of Social Welfare, and later joined the faculty at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Currently, Roberts has his own management-consulting firm, Terrence Roberts Consulting.

In 1999, he and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton.

Bradley University has adopted a yearlong theme, “Standing Together,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of many significant dates in the civil rights movement, the history behind them, and what it means for 21st century America.