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MLK Jr.s son to lead tribute to his father

As part of the University’s week of remembrance for Martin Luther King Jr., the University Lecture Series (ULS) will kick off its first event of the semester with his oldest son, Martin Luther King III.

King will be speaking at the free event tonight in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom from 7 to 8:30.

A human rights and community activist himself, King will speak about his father and how he impacted his life.

As a civil rights speaker, King was the fourth president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an American Civil Rights organization that was co-founded by his father. He also leads “Realizing the Dream,” a non-profit coalition group aimed at reducing U.S. poverty.

Along with students, faculty and the public, members of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival will also attend the lecture.

“It’s a longstanding partnership that the University has with the Festival,” said Kristie Gerber, director of student activities. “This is one of their events that they helped publicize and attend.”

Festival chairwoman and events coordinator Ruby Jackson is one member who has worked with USF to publicize the event.

“Since I’ve been a part of (the Festival), we’ve worked with USF,” Jackson said. “What we do is we kind of put the event out to the community. The word is out to thousands of people.”

The Black Heritage Festival is in its eleventh year and runs from Jan. 13 to 22.

King will be paid $30,250 from student-paid Activity and Service fees for his lecture.

While the Black Heritage Festival plans on bringing at least 100 people to the event, the ballroom seats around 900 people and the Oval Theater across the hall will offer a live video stream of the event if needed for overflow.

Gerber said that King will be available for photographs, but isn’t certain if he’ll be signing autographs for attendees.

“I expect this to be a really heartfelt event. It’s going to be emotional,” Jackson said.