Shaw University Announces Dr. Sharrelle Barber as 2023 MLK Celebration Keynote Speaker

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Shaw University Announces Dr. Sharrelle Barber as 2023 MLK Celebration Keynote Speaker
Shaw University - Center for Racial and Soical Justice MLK celebration

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Shaw University announced that Dr. Sharrelle Barber will serve as keynote speaker during the university’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. The event will take place in the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel on campus.

Dr. Sharrelle Barber is a social epidemiologist and scholar-activist whose research focuses on the intersection of “place, race and health” and examines the role of structural racism in shaping health and racial/ethnic health inequities among Black communities in the United States and Brazil. Dr. Barber currently serves as the Director of the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity, which launched Nov. 11, 2021. The Ubuntu Center’s mission is to unite diverse partners to generate and translate evidence, accelerate antiracism solutions, and transform the health of communities locally, nationally and globally.

Dr. Valerie Johnson, Dean of Arts, Sciences and Humanities at Shaw University, said: “Dr. Barber embodies the spirit and ethos of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights activist and Shaw alumna Ms. Ella Baker. She is one of our young leaders of substance.” Dr. Barber received a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health. Barber is also the daughter of Rev. Dr. William Barber II, a North Carolina social justice activist and newly appointed founding director of the Yale Divinity School Center for Public Theology and Public Policy.

Dr. Paulette Dillard, President of Shaw University, said: “The Shaw University community is delighted to welcome Dr. Sharrelle Barber as our keynote speaker to celebrate the service, life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her research and work at the Ubuntu Center embody his universal principles of justice and equity, and she is an inspiring leader for our community and student body.”

Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the first historically Black institution of higher education founded in North Carolina and is among the oldest in the nation. The University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper. Dr. Paulette Dillard currently serves as the University’s 18th President. For more information, visit:


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