Fifty years after the landmark integration of Little Rock's Central High School, Ernest Green, one of the "Little Rock Nine", will share his personal experiences as one of the trailblazers of the civil rights movement. He will be the keynote speaker for Case Western Reserve University's 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation. The free, public event begins at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 18, in Amasa Stone Chapel, 10940 Euclid Ave.
Along with eight other black students, Green courageously integrated the then all-white Central High School in 1957. Several books, movies and documentaries have been produced which chronicle Green and his classmate's historic and turbulent school year, the most recent being the Ernest Green Story.
As Green became the first black student to graduate from the school, Dr. King sat in the audience with Green's mother during the commencement ceremony. Later Green went on to earn a bachelor's degree in social science and a master's degree in sociology from Michigan State University. He has received honorary degrees from Michigan State, Tougaloo College and Central State University.
The civil rights activist has received numerous awards, most notably the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States, which he was awarded along with the rest of the "Little Rock Nine" by President Clinton in 1999. At the age of 17, Green was the youngest recipient of the NAACP's Spingard Medal.
He is presently the managing director of public finance for Lehman Brothers' investment banking office in Washington, D.C., and has served as senior investment banker for the company on transactions by like the City of New York, State of New York and the City of Chicago.
Additionally, he was appointed chairman of the African Development Foundation by President Clinton and chairman of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board by the Secretary of Education (who?). He served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training under President Carter and is a member of numerous international leadership groups including Council on Foreign Relations, the Executive Leadership Council, the Legislative Action Committee of the Public Securities Association, and chairs the National Association of Securities Professionals and Africare.
Prior to joining Lehman Brothers in 1987, Green was president of Ernest Green and Associates, a minority consulting firm that provided technical marketing, financial management and economic forecasting assistance.
The convocation kicks off a week's worth of events across campus celebrating King January 18-25. Other events include author and historian James West Davidson's lecture at the MLK Day Student Luncheon, poetry readings, the spring service fair and an invitation-only dinner with United States Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones.
A complete list and schedule of events, as well as additional information about MLK Celebration Week, can be found online .
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.