Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture to focus on systemic inequity

Activist and educator Ericka Huggins will deliver a Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture at St. Olaf College.

Ericka Huggins, a human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther leader, and former political prisoner, will deliver a Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture at St. Olaf College titled The Thread Running Through History.

The lecture, which will be streamed and archived online, will begin at 3:30 p.m. on January 16 in the Sun Ballroom in Buntrock Commons. It is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

In her lecture, Huggins will explore the weaving of the threads of systemic inequity history in the tapestry of U.S. culture, the relevance of these threads in the present, and the impact of this interweaving on future generations.

A professor of sociology and African American studies in the Peralta Community College District, Huggins has lectured throughout the United States and internationally for more than three decades. She has devoted her life to the equality of all — beyond the boundaries of age, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, or ability.

Huggins spent 14 years as a leader of the Black Panther Party (the longest of any woman in leadership), including eight years as director of the party’s Oakland Community School. During that time, she became both the first black person and the first woman appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education.

A lifelong writer and poet, Huggins published Insights and Poems, a book of poetry she co-authored with Huey P. Newton, in 1974. Her poetry and writings have appeared in numerous magazines and books.

“I believe as a teacher I must be a student; as a student I must be a teacher,” Huggins says on her website. “I write poetry. I read to hone my critical thinking skills. I believe that we learn best by engaging one another as we serve the world.”