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Civil rights activist to deliver Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture

The Rev. David Forbes Sr. will deliver a lecture at St. Olaf College January 19. Photo courtesy of the Raleigh Public Record.

St. Olaf College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a lecture by a civil rights activist who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

The Rev. David Forbes Sr. will speak at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, January 19, in the Sun Room of Buntrock Commons.

The lecture will be streamed and archived online.

Forbes was a student at Shaw University when Ella Baker held a meeting on campus in the spring of 1960 to organize a new group called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At age 19, Forbes was elected the North Carolina representative of the committee.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee became one of the most important organizations of the civil rights movement, organizing sit-ins and freedom rides and playing a leading role in the 1963 March on Washington and the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Forbes and other representatives of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee met with Martin Luther King Jr. to share stories of their nonviolent protests.

“We sat the feet of Dr. King and Ella Baker, Ralph Abernathy, and Wyatt Walker,” Forbes told the Raleigh Public Record in an interview last year. “Big names during that time, and they would not so much as instruct us as hear our stories and bring deeper understanding to what was going on.”

After graduating from Shaw University, Forbes became a teacher. While teaching in New York, he began working on a street team to reach out to inner-city youth. He went on to earn his master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and his doctor of ministry from United Theological Seminary. He has also completed the coursework for a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Virginia.

Forbes has taught at the university level and was the founding pastor of Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was appointed dean of the Shaw University Divinity School in May 2014.