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Skirball Cultural Center

Perspectives on Black-Jewish Relations in the Fight for Civil Rights

The Howard I. Friedman Memorial Lecture

Public Programs | Words and Ideas

black-and-white photo of two African-American men dressed in suits and standing in front of microphones

Dr. Martin Luther King and the Rev. Bernard Lafayette at an Atlanta news conference in 1968 (AP Photo/Charles Kelly).

Join a conversation between Civil Rights icon Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. and Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky as we present the annual Howard I. Friedman Memorial Graduate Essay Prize to Erin Faigin.

Date and Time

Tuesday, December 5, 7:00 pm

6:00 pm Exhibition open for viewing
7:00 pm Program
8:00 pm Dessert reception
9:30 pm Reception concludes, exhibition closes

Pricing and Details


  • FREE

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About the Program

Join us on the 68th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott for a fireside chat with Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. and Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, as we consider the relationship of Jewish values to the establishment and defense of civil liberties, and present the annual Howard I. Friedman Memorial Graduate Essay Prize to PhD candidate Erin Faigin

Inspired by the Skirball’s current exhibition This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, both this year’s winning essay and lecture explore the relationship between Black and Jewish communities.

Featured Speakers

A headshot of an African American man in a dark suit with a muted colored tie with squares on it. He has black and grey short hair and a goatee.

Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr.—Dr. Lafayette co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He was a leader of the Nashville Student Movement (1960), the Freedom Riders (1961), the Alabama Voter Registration Project (1962), and the Selma Movement (1962–1965). Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appointed him the National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples' campaign (1968). Following the assassination of Dr. King, Dr. Lafayette received his Master's in Education from Harvard University and his ordination from the American Baptist Theological Seminary, an institution he would return to two decades later as President. Dr. Lafayette also held academic deanships and directorships at Gustavus Adolphus College, Alabama State University, the University of Rhode Island, and Emory University. Dr. Lafayette remains the preeminent American scholar and teacher of nonviolence studies.

Councilwoman Katy YaroslavskyKaty Yaroslavsky serves as Councilwoman for Los Angeles’ Fifth City Council District, representing neighborhoods and communities she has been a part of nearly her entire life. Elected in 2022, Councilwoman Yaroslavsky, currently serves as Chair of the City Council’s Energy & Environment committee, Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Olympics committee, and is a member of the Budget & Finance, Planning & Land Use Management, and Transportation committees. In March 2023, Mayor Karen Bass appointed Councilwoman Yaroslavsky to serve on the LA Metro Board of Directors.

Donor Support

The Howard I. Friedman Memorial Graduate Essay Prize and Lecture are made possible by generous support from the following donors:

Pam and Jeff Balton
Howard Bernstein
Alyce and Philip de Toledo
The Friedman Family
Marcie and Cliff Goldstein
Dennis Holt
Jessie Kornberg and Aaron Lowenstein
Madeline and Bruce Ramer
May and Richard Ziman

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