Civil Rights Leader Speaks at MLK Event

Benjamin Chavis

Civil rights icon Benjamin Chavis delivered the MLK Jr. Celebration keynote address at the University Center in January.

A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Chavis was a young chemistry graduate of the University of North Carolina when he and nine others were unjustly convicted of arson and conspiracy, becoming known as the Wilmington 10. Before his conviction was overturned on appeal, Chavis earned a Master’s of Divinity from Duke University while in prison.

Chavis began his career in North Carolina working for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He served as executive director and CEO of the NAACP in the 1990s and organized the 1995 Million Man March.

He is president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association: The Black Press of America, and he co-founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the world’s largest coalition of hip-hop artists and recording industry executives.

The address was sponsored by the Office of the President and hosted by the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

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