Indiana State University Newsroom

'Black Lives Matter' scholar to speak at annual MLK Jr. dinner

December 18, 2017

Frank Leon Roberts, educator and political organizer on the frontlines of the contemporary Black Lives Matters Movement, will give the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Commemoration Dinner on Jan. 19.

"We wanted somebody who would be engaging for students and faculty and a speaker who will address the Black Lives Matter Movement will resonate with both because it's a topic that continues trending and he offers a perspective of what the Black Lives Matter Movement looks like from the classroom," said Brice Yates, director of the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center, which hosts the event.

A professor at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Roberts is one of the first professors in the nation to teach a course on the Black Lives Matter Movement - a social movement that began in 2013 to campaign against violence and systemic racism towards black people following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Roberts' course, entitled Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance and Populist Protest, has received national attention for offering students the context and tools to understand the movement. The syllabus is available to the public as an educational resource to enhance the national dialogue surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The topic of Roberts' talk at Indiana State will be "Litany for Survival: Black Lives Matter in the Age of Trump."

"The Black Lives Matter Movement is a human rights movement, so not just for black people," Yates said. "The movement is about support and being an advocate for the struggle. It's about being empathic, listening and learning, and that's a message that resonates with Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement."

The event, which will be held in the Sycamore Banquet Center at Hulman Memorial Student Union, will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. Parking will be available in the visitor's pay lot on the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets.

Tickets for the dinner are $35 for an individual seat or $280 for a table of eight. Reservations can be made by calling Julia Brice at 812-237-3811 by Jan. 5, 2018.


Contact: Brice Yates, director, Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center, Indiana State University,

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or