Robert J. Booker, local civil rights historian and Knoxville News Sentinel columnist, will present a talk titled “100 Years of the Civil Rights Movement” on Thursday, May 23, at 3 p.m. in the City Room at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge.
A Knoxville native, Booker is a graduate of Knoxville College, where he initiated and led the Sit-in Movement to desegregate lunch counters and movie theaters in Knoxville, a press release said. He was the first African American representing Knox County to be elected to the state legislature, where he served three terms, the press release said. He was administrative assistant to the Knoxville mayor for seven years and was executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center for 17 years. He has also held positions on the State Civil Service Commission and the Tennessee Committee on Humanities.
His books include, among others, “Two Hundred Years of Black Culture in Knoxville, Tennessee 1791-1991” and “The Heat of a Red Summer, the story of the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919.”
Booker was elected to the Distinguished Service Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, is a member of the east Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame, and received lifetime achievement awards from the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Knoxville Area Urban League.
A reception beginning at 2:30 p.m. May 23 in the visitors’ lobby will precede the lecture. The presentation is offered as part of the RSCC/Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning Lecture Series. ORICL Is a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization that offers courses on a variety of topics for a modest membership fee. For more information, see the website at www.roanestate.edu/oricl.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release was submitted by Katherine Smith.
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