Shaun R. Harper, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania and president-elect of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, will give the keynote address for Duke University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday.
The keynote, which is free and open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. in Page Auditorium. Free parking is available in the Bryan Center Parking Garage (see map at http://myatlascms.com/map/?id=21&mrkIid=39570).
This year’s commemoration – whose theme is “Justice or Just Us: Who Is Working to Create a More Perfect Union?” – is also expected to include a spoken word program.
Harper’s research examines racial problems in the United States, equity trends and racial climates on college campuses, black and Latino male student success in schools and social contexts, and college student engagement. One of his studies looked at educational inequity in Ferguson, Missouri. His forthcoming book, “Race Matters in College” (Johns Hopkins University Press), will address what needs to be done in response to “the persistent racism that people of color experience on most predominantly white campuses.”
Harper said his keynote address “will definitely address the wave of recent student protests. “I will talk mostly about research I have done over the past decade on racial inequities and racism at dozens of colleges and universities across the country.”
Harper, a professor in the Graduate School of Education, Africana Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, said he thinks Duke’s “Justice or Just Us” theme “perfectly captures the sentiment of many people of color at predominantly white institutions across the country.”
Benjamin Reese, vice president of institutional equity at Duke and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, said Harper’s center recently put together a multiple-day training for university presidents and other senior leaders to help them better engage campus race issues.
“Given what is happening nationally around issues of race, both in the streets of our cities and communities and certainly what is happening on college campuses including Duke, this will be an extremely relevant and important keynote address. Dr. Harper is one of the leading scholars around race issues, urban issues and the critical issues of education,” Reese said.
Bring books to the park Monday
Book Harvest, a Durham-based nonprofit which provides books to Triangle children and families who need them,will host the Dream Big Book Drive at Durham Central Park on Monday. From 1 to 4 p.m., community members are invited to bring their book donations to Durham Central Park and to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. The event will feature a brief keynote address by Cornelius Redfearn, principal at Durham’s Glenn Elementary School; special guests Wool E. Bull, Maky the Lemur, and Ranger Baldy; musical performances by Matt Phillips, Tiny House, and the 2015 Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands winner The PsychoMetrics; Captain Cookie and the Milk Man food truck; the Scrap Exchange; 58 corporate and community sponsors; and a photo booth project.