LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 10, 2012) – Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine and Bliss Ann Malone Hunter, a former Freedom Rider, will be guest speakers at UALR’s second annual Civil Rights Heritage Commemoration and Public Forum Saturday, July 14, at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center Park.
Hunter, one of the five Freedom Riders who came to Little Rock in 1961, will give the keynote address with remarks by honorees and attorney Christopher Mercer Jr. Speaking on behalf of the Little Rock Nine will be Minnijean Brown Trickey.
In addition to Roberts and Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford, Carlotta Walls LaNier, and Thelma Mothershed Wair of the Nine are scheduled to attend.
Following the commemoration, the forum will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library. Roberts will speak on the legacy of the 1957 desegregation of Central High School.
The events are free and open to the public.
The full list of honorees include attorney Christopher Mercer Jr.; publishers and NAACP civil rights activists L.C. and Daisy Bates; and members of the Little Rock Nine – Melba Pattillo Beals, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Thelma Mothershed, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, and Minnijean Brown Trickey.
The UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity will host the event commemorating the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the institute. At the event, new markers will be unveiled that bear the names of additional honorees that will be added to the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail.
The trail was inaugurated last year during the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders in honor of their efforts to integrate interstate bus transportation and the work of members of the Arkansas Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who organized lunch counter sit-ins in Little Rock in the 1960s.
The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail begins at the Old State House on Markham Street and stretches to the Clinton Center. The trail was established to educate the public about civil rights history in Arkansas and honor those who have contributed to obtaining equal rights for citizens in the state.
The UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity was founded in July 2011 to seek racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas by remembering and understanding the past, informing and engaging the present, and shaping and defining the future. It serves as a resource for multidisciplinary, research-driven data – including historical, sociological, educational, and economic analyses – to combat structural racism and fulfill its mission.