IRVINE — Civil rights history came alive this week when a member of the "Little Rock Nine" spoke at a private Jewish school about a touchstone in American history.
Terrence Roberts addressed Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School students Thursday about segregation and adhering to codes of nonviolence.
He was a featured guest speaker during the Facing History and Ourselves Jewish Education Program, which is sponsored by a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.
"In any group of human beings conflict is inevitable, but combat is avoidable," Roberts said.
While Roberts described time as "neutral" — with life's drama continuously unfolding — it is up to the individual to choose when and where to make a stand against injustice.
His moment came at age 13, when he made the mistake of sitting at an all-white lunch counter, he said.
"It was like someone had frozen time," Roberts said of the instantaneous mass reaction of the restaurant's patrons that he had broken "society's code."