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UCLA Bunche Center honors scholar Harry Edwards as 2010 Thurgood Marshall Speaker

Harry Edwards, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of sociology and the activist who spurred black athletes to raise their fists in a "black power" protest at the 1968 Olympic Games, will deliver the 2010 Thurgood Marshall lecture at UCLA on Thursday, April 29.
The event, organized by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by Edwards' lecture at 7 p.m. in the Grand Horizon Room at UCLA's Covel Commons. The free lecture is co-sponsored by Fox Studios' diversity unit.
"Professor Edwards is a leading voice on the plight of the black student-athlete and on the interconnections between sport, education and black liberation," said Darnell Hunt, director of the Bunche Center and a professor of sociology. "We are particularly excited to have him deliver the Thurgood Marshall Lecture during the Bunche Center's 40th-anniversary year, an occasion that prompts us to look back to the social movements of the 1960s that gave birth to black studies.
"Professor Edwards was an iconic figure in those movements, and his voice may be needed now more than ever."
Each year, a prominent leader in the African American community is asked to deliver the Thurgood Marshall Lecture on Law and Human Rights. The event honors the legacy and contributions of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, whose record of civil rights advocacy is inextricably linked to the African American struggle for social and economic justice. Past lecturers have included civil rights activist and former Black Panther chairperson Elaine Brown, law professor and author Lani Guinier, NAACP chairperson Julian Bond and late UCLA alumnus and noted attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.
Edwards, a leading authority on the issue of race, sports and society and a pioneer in the development of sports as an academic discipline in America, taught at UC Berkeley from 1970 to 2000.
A star athlete at East St. Louis High School in Illinois, Edwards was awarded an athletic scholarship to San Jose State University and graduated four years later. He subsequently was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a University Fellowship to Cornell University, where he completed master's and doctoral degrees in sociology.
Spurred by the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Edwards started the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which worked against racism in sports and society. Edwards believed that protest efforts would dramatize the racial inequities and barriers confronting African Americans.
For the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Edwards advocated a boycott by black athletes and other forms of protests. During the medal ceremony for the 200-meter race, gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos, both African Americans, raised their fists in a black power salute as international photographers snapped pictures. The photo would eventually become an iconic image of the civil rights movement.
The author of "The Revolt of the Black Athlete," Edwards also has advocated for more African American athletes to pursue professional career paths and for more blacks to be represented in sports management. He has been a consultant to the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
To attend the event, the public can R.S.V.P. to or -310-206-8267.
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