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Ex-leader of Black Panthers to speak at UC Irvine

Martin Luther King Jr.'s true legacy is that of a radical, revolutionary man who led people in coordinated acts of nonviolent lawbreaking to force change in a stubbornly oppressive nation, activist-writer Elaine Brown said.

Brown, the first and only female leader of the Black Panther Party, is a keynote speaker at UC Irvine's 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium that starts Monday.

Her speech Wednesday will channel King's views and action plans into present-day issues based on King's public statements and actions toward the latter part of his life, she said.

King would be fighting for gun control, universal health care and redistribution of America's wealth if he were alive today, she said.

The Black Panther Party was an African-American radical activist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982.

Brown's speech at 7 p.m. Wednesday is free, but tickets are required and may be reserved by phone at 949-824-7215.

UC Irvine's Martin MLK symposium starts Monday and includes a day of community service and a volunteer fair.

The other keynote speaker is Bernard Lafayette, an educator and trainer on King's non-violent philosophy who was a leader in the 1960s civil rights movement. His speech is at 5 p.m. Thursday.


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