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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Celebration

Join the Intercultural Center each February as we honor the ideals and teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King by recognizing students who carry his legacy forward through both their scholastic achievements and commitment to servant leadership. Each year, generated proceeds from luncheon ticket sales support the Intercultural Center in having awarded UNF students more than $140,000 in scholarships to date. Evoking the dynamic oration skills of Dr. King, nationally acclaimed speakers take to the podium each year to deliver memorable keynote addresses. Past speakers include Ossie Davis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Blair Underwood, Guy Jasmine, Hill Harper and Dominique Dawes.

Henderson Cheryl Brown smiling and wearing a black suit jacket on top of gray blouseThe 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Scholarship Celebration Luncheon will be held at noon on Wednesday, February 8, in the UNF Adam W. Herbert University Center. The keynote speaker is Cheryl Brown Henderson, Brown v. Board of Education Originator and Civil Rights activists.

Ms. Brown Henderson is one of the three daughters of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown who in the fall of 1950 along with 12 other parents in Topeka, Kansas, led by attorneys for the NAACP, filed suit on behalf of their children against the local Board of Education. On May 17, 1954, their case joined with cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court became known as the landmark decision: Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case was legally named for Oliver Brown, i.e., Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, KS. et. al. Brown died in 1961 before knowing the impact this case would have on the nation.

Ms. Brown Henderson is the Founding President of The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, and owner of Brown & Associates, an educational consulting firm. She has an extensive background in education, business and civic leadership, having served on and chaired various local, state and national boards. In addition, she has two decades of experience in political advocacy, public policy implementation and federal legislative development. In 1988 she founded the Brown Foundation. Since its establishment, the Foundation has provided scholarships to more than 100 minority students, presented awards to local, state and national leaders, established libraries for children in low-income communities, developed curriculum on Brown for educators across the country, created traveling exhibits on and a website on Brown, and sponsored programs on diversity and educational issues for thousands of people. In 1990, under her leadership the Foundation successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education National Park in Topeka, which opened in May of 2004. In 2001 under her leadership the Foundation successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Presidential Commission, which served to provide a federal presence in the 2004 anniversary of the Brown decision. 

Individuals who require reasonable accommodations in order to participate must notify the Intercultural Center at least five (5) business days prior to the event. For assistance, call (904) 620-2475.

Past Speakers

Year Speaker Name and Description
Dr. Mary Frances Berry
Civil Rights activist, attorney and Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at University of Pennsylvania
Roland S. Martin
Journalist, CNN contributor, and host of Roland Martin Unfiltered.
Reverend Gwendolyn Cook Webb
Civil rights activist and participant in The Birmingham Children's Crusade. 
Carlotta Walls-LaNier
Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, and Congressional Gold Medal recipient.
Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Chair of the Center for African American Studies and William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University.
Ndaba Thembekile Mandela
Grandson of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, President and CEO of Africa Rising, one of BET's "28 Men of Change."
Terry McMillan
Advocate and best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
2015 Steve Pemberton
Corporate executive, motivational speaker, visionary youth advocate and best-selling author.
2014 Hill Harper
Actor, performer, author, NAACP Image Award winner, youth advocate, and Harvard Law School alumnus.
Jasmine Guy
Performer, Director, Writer, and Choreographer.
Dr. James H. Cone
Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary and author of numerous published books and articles.
2011 Juan Williams
Author, Journalist and Political Commentator.
Dominique Dawes
Olympic Gold Medal winning gymnast, three time Olympian, motivational speaker, spokeswoman, broadcaster, and Yahoo! Sports Analyst.
Dr. Benjamin Carson
A full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation's 20 foremost physicians and scientists, and he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 "Living Legends" on the occasion of its 200th anniversary.
Blair Underwood
Actor, Director, Producer and Author.
Tavis Smiley
Broadcaster, Author, Advocate and Philanthropist.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
World renowned Journalist, Author, and Civil Rights Pioneer. As CNN's former Johannesburg Bureau Chief and Correspondent, Hunter-Gault introduced viewers to the people of the diverse continent of Africa, a country she once called "one of the greatest challenges that we in the media face."
2005 Dick Gregory
Author, Actor and Civil Rights Activist. Gregory continues to work for human rights causes around the world.
Dr. Cornel West
Professor at Princeton University a compelling orator, acute philosopher, and progressive visionary. Dr. West was a professor of religion and director for the Program in African-American Studies in Princeton. His book, Race Matters was published in 1993.