‘Little Rock 9’ Civil Rights Icon Attended Inauguration

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When Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, Americans might have concluded that the nation had finally overcome its racist past.

But for retired psychology professor Dr. Terrence Roberts, 67, one of nine black teenagers who integrated Arkansas’ Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the ceremony was another cleared hurdle in the continuing battle for equal rights.

Obama’s election validates what the “Little Rock Nine” tried to accomplish, said Roberts, a former co-chair of the Master’s in Psychology program at Antioch University in Los Angeles who has been invited to attend the inaugural ceremony for the first black president in U.S. history.

“It adds substance to what we tried to do,” Roberts said. “When you look at this country’s history, and you look at the opposition to integration, and then you look at what has happened with Obama’s election, it is quite apparent that the old system is crumbling.

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