Terrence Roberts was only 15 years-old when he joined the fight for racial integration. Roberts enrolled at Central High School because “At age 15 I had already learned enough about what it meant to live under the oppressive conditions of legalized discrimination. I was primed and ready for change” (Roberts). Roberts endured hatred, threats and violence to achieve racial integration. Unfortunately, the efforts Roberts and the other members of the Little Rock Nine were temporarily halted when Arkansas’ Governor, Orval Faubus, closed all of Little Rock’s high schools to stop integration from occurring.
Since Central High was closed, Roberts moved to Los Angeles, California to complete his high school education. He then earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles. He also received a Master of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Roberts also earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University. He has since worked as a professor at Pacific Union College and the Antioch University Los Angeles. Roberts has also been the assistant dean of the School of Social Welfare at UCLA and co-chair of the Master of Arts in Psychology program at the Antioch University Los Angeles. He has also served as the Director of Mental Health at St. Helena Hospital and Health Center. Currently, Roberts runs a management-consulting firm.
Roberts has been recognized extensively for his life’s work. He received the Spingarn Medal and the Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also earned the Congressional Gold Medal, which was given to him by President Clinton. Roberts’ work was also celebrated when he was given the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award. He was also presented with the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award. Roberts’ teaching was recognized when he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year from the College of Human Resources at Southern Illinois University. Terrence Roberts has spent his life learning about and directly advocating for social justice.
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