Steve Pemberton, survivor of a difficult childhood and now chief diversity officer for Walgreens, will be the keynote speaker Jan. 22 for Longwood University’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. 

Pemberton, author of A Chance in the World, which details his childhood in foster care and search for his family, will speak about his book at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Jarman Auditorium. Also that day, Pemberton will attend two events at the Moton Museum in Farmville: a discussion of his book for Longwood faculty and staff is set for 3:30 p.m., and a public reception will be held at 7 p.m.

A divisional vice president for Walgreens as well as its chief diversity officer, Pemberton was recognized as one of the top 20 chief diversity officers in corporate America in 2006 by Fortune.

Other MLK activities at Longwood open to the public include an event Thursday, Jan. 23, focusing on the fight for education and a bus trip Friday, Jan. 24, to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

On Jan. 23, a brief march will begin from the front steps of Lankford Hall at noon. Participants will return to Lankford Ballroom for reflection and presentations by two people who participated in the 1951 strike of Prince Edward County’s segregated schools for African Americans, as well as a reading of the United Nations speech by Malala Yousafzai, the then-15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban on her way to school in 2012.

Members of the Longwood community will participate Jan. 20 in the day of local community service projects known as the MLK Service Challenge and compete Jan. 21 in a student-led MLK trivia contest.

For more information, visit Longwood's MLK Blog site.

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