Terrence James Roberts was one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1999, he and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton. On September 4, 1957, Roberts and eight other African American students (known as the Little Rock Nine) made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School. Despite the presence of the National Guard, an angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school.

terrence-roberts-image-about-usThe National Guard was removed with the protection of the students left to the local police. On September 23, 1957, a mob of about 1000 people surrounded the school as the students attempted to enter. The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to accompany the students to school for protection. The troops were stationed at the school for the entirety of the school year, although they were unable to prevent incidents of violence inside.

As a result of the subsequent closing of Little Rock’s high schools during the 1958-1959 school year, Roberts completed his senior year in Los Angeles, California.

Roberts continued his education at California State University, Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1967. He received his Master’s degree in social welfare from the UCLA School of Social Welfare in 1970, and his Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1976.

From 1975 to 1977 he was a member of the faculty at Pacific Union College, a private liberal arts college in Napa Valley, California.

From 1977 to 1985 Roberts was Director of Mental Health at St. Helena Hospital and Health Center.

From 1985 to 1993 he was assistant dean in the UCLA School of Social Welfare.

Roberts joined the Antioch University Los Angeles in 1993 and served as core faculty and co-chair of the Master of Arts in Psychology program until 2008. He is currently Principal of the management-consulting firm, Terrence Roberts Consulting.

Published Works & Selected Lectures

Dr. Robert’s personal memoir, highlighting his experiences as a member of the Little Rock Nine.

Click Here to Purchase.

Reflections on community social responsibility and tolerance : A series of essays designed to lead the reader toward a more socially responsible life position.

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Click here to read Teresa Scollon’s Review of Simple, Not Easy.

Dr. Robert’s Samara Lectures Speaker Profile Page, which includes all of his commissioned lectures on Civil Rights and Human Capital Management can be found by clicking HERE. 

“Social Welfare in Black America,” in Cox, et al, eds. INTRODUCTION TO BLACK AMERICA: A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE, Southern Illinois University Press, 1974.


“Understanding Choice: Gateway to Sound Mental Health,” JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1978.


“Managing Trial Stress,” in Jonathan M, Purver, Douglas R. Young, and James J. Davis III, TRIAL HANDBOOK FOR CALIFORNIA LAWYERS, Bancroft-Whitney Co., 1987.

Awards & Memberships

Congressional Gold Medal
Presented by the Congress of the United States of America in recognition of contributions to arena of civil rights.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award
Presented by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference On Women in Atlanta, GA.

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Award
Award commemorating twenty-fifth anniversary of “Little Rock Nine’s” desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award
Annual award presented to those who do most to extend the frontiers of democracy.

Spingarn Medal
Annual award presented by the NAACP to that person or persons making outstanding contributions to the area of human rights.

Outstanding Teacher of the Year
College of Human Resources, Southern Illinois University


Board Member, Western Justice Center Foundation
Board Member, Economic Resources Corporation
Board Member, Little Rock Nine Foundation
Board Member, Facing History and Ourselves
Past Board Member, Eisenhower World Affairs Institute
Past Board Member, Pacific Oaks College

Contact Terrence Roberts Consulting