Jan. 6, 2011
Martin Luther King Jr. celebration set for Jan. 27
Baldwin City, Kan. — Melvin L. Jenkins, an Omaha, Neb., attorney specializing in civil rights, will speak at Baker University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Osborne Chapel.
Jenkins has spoken nationally about civil rights matters, including fair housing, affirmative action in employment and higher education, and the psychological impact of discrimination.
Jenkins also is an instructor at the National Fair Housing Training Academy, located in Washington, D.C. Jenkins formerly served as the regional director of the Central Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The office encompassed Kansas, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. From 1988 to 1990, he was the acting staff director for the commission, overseeing the agency’s national and regional operations. He joined the commission in 1973 as regional attorney for the Kansas City office.
Jenkins was born in 1947 in Halifax, N.C. He graduated from Ralph J. Bunche High School in Weldon, N.C., and from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University-Greensboro in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in history and a minor in political science. He received a Council on Legal Education Opportunity fellowship and Benton fellowship from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1972. He was also the recipient of a Smith Legal Services Fellowship and was a National Institute for Trial Advocacy fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.
Jenkins is a member of the National Bar Association and the Nebraska Bar Association and numerous other professional organizations. He formerly served as a school board member of the Joan Davis Special School and a member of the Kansas City Human Relations Commission. He is a life member of the NAACP and a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Jenkins has authored and/or conducted over 50 major studies on civil rights issues, including “Crisis and Opportunity: Race Relations in Selma,” “Racial and Religious Tensions on Selected Kansas College Campuses,” and “Minority Political Participation in Selected Alabama Jurisdictions.”
Jenkins is married with four children and five grandchildren, including Baker student Kelley Jenkins. He resides in Grandview, Mo.