Long Beach Rotary Welcomes Dr. Terrence J. Roberts, Member of the Little Rock Nine

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Little Rock nine

Dr. Terrence J. Roberts

Long Beach Rotary will host its fourth meeting this year on Wednesday, February 1st, and will feature Dr. Terrence J. Roberts, member of the Little Rock Nine Foundation that was established in the wake of fierce opposition to the desegregation of schools by nine young African American students.

An admired speaker, Roberts made history as one of the nine children who desegregated Little Rock Central High School on September 4, 1957. On September 23, a crowd of 1,000 surrounded the school as the children attempted to enter, which prompted President Dwight D. Eisenhower to send US Army troops to protect the students. Although the troops were ordered to remain stationed outside the school for the remainder of the year, they were unable to prevent the violence that occurred on campus behind closed doors. The brave children endured constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed integration. Despite daily harassment, Roberts completed his junior year at Central High School. However, as the city’s high schools were closed the following year to prevent further desegregation, Roberts moved to Los Angeles, California and graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959.

Roberts was awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1958 and, in 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine. Lessons from Little Rock, a memoir, and Simple Not Easy: Reflections on Community Social Responsibility and Tolerance are a few of Roberts’ published writings.

“We’re very excited to be able to hear the experiences of Terrence Roberts and the courageous Little Rock Nine; it will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime event” said Blake Christian, Rotary Club of Long Beach President.

Dr. Roberts will be the speaker at the fourth Rotary Meeting of 2012 at 12 Noon on Wednesday, February 1st in honor of Black History month. The event will be held at the Grand Salon aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

Tickets to attend the event are $25.00. For more information please contact Karen Wyrick, Executive Director Long Beach Rotary (562) 436-8181 or email karen@rotarylongbeach.org.

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