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Longtime Civil Rights activist Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. will be the keynote speaker at Essex County College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial program on Tuesday, January 15.
The free program, presented by the College’s Africana Institute in association with the Student Life & Activities Office, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. in the Mary Burch Theater on the Newark campus.
“This is significant that we have as our keynote speaker someone of the stature of Dr. Chavis who has been in the forefront of the Civil Right movement in the United States,” said Dr. Akil Khalfani, Director of the Africana Institute. “Dr. Chavis will bring to us his reflections not only on the Civil Rights movement, but his thoughts on 400 years since African slaves were brought to this country.”
The Essex County College Choir and the Arts High School (Newark) Gospel Choir will also perform during the program.
Dr. Chavis, who grew up in North Carolina, was only 13 when he helped integrate the all-white library in Oxford, NC. He was also a member of the so-called “Wilmington 10” who fought to desegregate the schools in that North Carolina city.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He has a Master’s in Divinity from Duke University and a doctorate from Howard University.
Dr. Chavis is CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and has served in NAACP leadership roles.