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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

    Terrence Roberts speaks with Inclusion Committee of parents

    Lauren Gerson

    The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Parents’ Association hosted a virtual evening with Terrence Roberts, a member of the Little Rock Nine on Feb. 10 in Honor of Black History Month. The Zoom meeting was attended by 150 parents, students and teachers. On Sep. 25, 1957, 300 national guards escorted the Little Rock Nine, the group of nine Black students, to Central High, where they were met by angry crowds of white families.

    Roberts was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on Dec. 3, 1941. At age six he was sent to his first grade classroom in a segregated school in Little Rock. In 1954 the Board of Education ruled, “It is no longer constitutional to discriminate,” and created a plan to desegregate Roberts local high school, Central High. The School Board then sent representatives to Little Rock schools that all the Black students attended and asked how many students would volunteer to transfer if they desegregated Central High.

    “When I came home and told them [my parents] I volunteered, without hesitating, they said we will support you 100% and if you get up there and find out you want to quit, no problem we will support your decisions to quit 100%,” Roberts said.

    After white students and their parents harassed the Little Rock Nine for their attendance at Central High, it took around three weeks for the president to reluctantly send the 101st airborne to go to school with the group.

    “But even with the airborne on our team, it didn’t prevent the kids from trying to kill us,” Roberts said. “Their motto was, ‘Either you leave voluntarily or we will kill you and drag you out of here.’ But we all made it out alive, I can’t tell you exactly how that happened because that certainly wasn’t the plan on the part of those who opposed our presence.”

    Currently Roberts is living in Marietta, Georgia, partly to assist voting rights activist and politician Stacey Abrams in her campaign for governor. Roberts volunteer work for Abrams aligns with his belief that progress for equality in the United States is not yet complete.

    “There is a lot of work to do in this country,” Roberts said. “I think the reason why the work needs to be done is because we as a people have never seriously confronted the issues, we have not asked the right questions, we have played games, we have lied, we have done everything possible to maintain and support this very pernicious status quo.”

    World History Instructor Eric Huezo attended the event and was mesmerized by the words of Roberts.

    “Hearing Dr. Roberts’s discussion was both illuminating and inspiring,” Huezo said. “His message is a sobering reminder of the reality that we face living in the United States, and that there is much work to be done to erase the dark past of this country. Furthermore, his message is a wake-up call to invest our time in meaningful pursuits which will help to build a better future for all citizens of the earth.”

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