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BLSA hosts conversation with Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine
USC Gould School of Law

Friday, March 5, 2021

Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine shares his experiences with Gould students as part of the BLSA Trailblazers series.

By Jim Lee

The USC Gould School of Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) recently hosted a conversation with educator and civil rights figure Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine. The online discussion was part of the BLSA Trailblazers event series.  

Roberts was a member of the historic Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who integrated the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The group attended Central High in the face of strong racial tensions in the community. Roberts is also the uncle of Gould 2L student, Cole Clark.

Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine shares his experiences with Gould students as part of the BLSA Trailblazers series. Watch video of the event.

Roberts and other members of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions, by President Bill Clinton in 1999. The virtual BLSA event gave attendees the opportunity to learn from Roberts’ experiences and inspiration to advance progress.

BLSA President Tomi Johnson, who moderated the event, noted that, "Much of BLSA's focus this year has been on tapping into the wisdom of those who came before us — recognizing that Black excellence is not only a pursuit, but a legacy. We're incredibly grateful that Dr. Roberts was able to join us this Black History Month and remind us of our place in the continuum of Black history, the fight for social justice, and the push toward racial equality." 

Roberts closed his discussion by reminding the audience that “fear does not have to interfere with goal directed behavior. Wherever you are, whichever institution, you can survive if you have the stamina and resilience to do it.” 

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