- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The president of the University of Maryland is delivering the 18th annual Robert Smalls lecture in Columbia.

Freeman Hrabowski is speaking Thursday on the history of expanding minority participation in U.S. higher education.

His lecture is at 7 p.m. in the Booker T. Washington Auditorium on the University of South Carolina campus. It is free and open to the public.

President Barack Obama appointed Hrabowski to chair the new President’s Advisory Commission on Education Excellence for African Americans.

The Robert Smalls Lecture Series was begun in 1997 to promote research and scholarship on African American studies. It is named for the one-time South Carolina slave who was a Civil War hero and congressman who influenced the state’s political, educational and economic systems.

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