Little Rock Nine Activist Minnijean Brown-Trickey Keynotes UNCW’s MLK Celebration Jan. 18

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Activist Minnijean Brown-Trickey, a member of the Little Rock Nine, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at UNCW. This year’s observance celebrates the legacy of civil rights and social justice in education. 

“In honor of the 60th anniversary of integration at UNC Wilmington, we invite the public to listen to one of our civil rights icons whose legacy of integration and self-defense in Little Rock, Arkansas, had a lasting impact on school integration throughout the country,” said Sean Palmer, director of UNCW’s Upperman African American Cultural Center.

The MLK Celebration will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2023 in Kenan Auditorium and will include a performance by the Williston Youth Choir.

Brown-Trickey was among the nine teenagers to be the first African American students to enter Little Rock Central High School in 1957, following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling to desegregate public schools. In 1999, the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award. Brown-Trickey has a distinguished career as a speaker, social worker and government administrator.

Admission to the MLK observance is free but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Kenan Box Office from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. A maximum of two tickets are allowed per individual. Groups may reserve tickets by emailing Renee Clauson Rivera at For additional information, call 910.962.2480.