Man who marched with MLK will speak at final celebration event

USF students are offered the chance to discuss’activism with a man who marched side-by-side with Martin Luther’King Jr.

The University’s MLK’Celebration week wraps up tonight with a final event at the historic Tampa Theatre that features a key figure from the 1960s civil rights movement.

Bernard Lafayette Jr., an activist and educator who participated in the 1961 freedom rides, was’beaten during the Selma marches and worked alongside King.

Lafayette will be the keynote speaker at an open forum for local high school and college’students.

The event will feature a’screening of the film ‘Passing the Torch,’ a documentary that explores the role of youth in the struggle for civil rights.

USF students receive free’transportation and admission to the event. A shuttle will leave from Theatre One, near the Marshall Student Center, at 6 p.m. and bring students back to campus after the forum around 9:30.

Frank Hernandez, director of the Department of Diversity and Multicultural Awareness, said he expects students to leave the event inspired.

‘You have to understand the efforts that were made in the civil rights movement of the 60s,’ Hernandez said. ‘People were the age that our students are now, and they rose to the occasion to get involved.’

‘But people also need to’understand that there are still inequalities today. If this night does anything, I hope that it can give people a cause to latch’onto.’

Lafayette, who was born in Tampa, was a leader in the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962 and was’appointed by King as the national’program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1968. He serves as director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island.

Doors will open at 6:30 and admission is $7 for non-students.