Civil rights activist and journalist Charlie Cobb to keynote 55th Annual MLK Convocation at Jackson State University

The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University is pleased to announce Charlie Cobb, civil rights activist and journalist, will keynote the 55th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday Convocation on Friday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. CST in the M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge Auditorium.

Born in Washington, D.C., Cobb is a former field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He helped to organize Freedom Summer with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in 1964. In the same year, Cobb contributed to the Mississippi Summer Project by proposing the creation of Freedom Schools, which was geared towards teaching reading, writing, and mathematics along with Black history and culture to anyone who was interested. 

“We are so lucky to have Charlie Cobb keynoting our MLK Convocation this year at JSU,” said Robert Luckett, Ph.D., director of the Margaret Walker Center. “His legacy as a scholar and activist is legendary, and it is of great significance that he will be speaking at the historic Masonic Temple, the site of so many extraordinary moments during the civil rights movement, including the state convention of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.”

In January 1969, Margaret Walker began the MLK Convocation at Jackson State to honor King just nine months after his assassination, making it one of the oldest celebrations of his life in the nation. Cobb joins its list of notable speakers for the 55th celebration. 

Cobb is the author, editor, and co-author of several books, including ‘This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible’ and ‘On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail’. He is also a founding member of the National Association for Black Journalists and was inducted into their hall of fame in July 2008. Cobb has worked as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C., and National Public Radio, as well as an on-air writer and correspondent for PBS’s documentary series ‘FRONTLINE,’ and the first Black writer for National Geographic magazine as an editorial staff member. The journalist has also helped establish the online news site ‘AllAfrica,’ where he serves as their first diplomatic correspondent. 

The MLK convocation is free and open to the public.