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Trevor Noah to speak at UK as university marks 70 years of integration

In this Sept. 29, 2015, file photo, Trevor Noah works on set during a taping of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” in New York.
In this Sept. 29, 2015, file photo, Trevor Noah works on set during a taping of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” in New York. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Comedy Central host and comedian Trevor Noah will be speaking at the University of Kentucky on Aug. 30 as part of the university’s celebration of 70 years of integration.

Noah will speak as part of an assembly at 9 a.m. that day, covering such topics as his childhood in South Africa, diversity and social justice. The assembly, which will take place in Memorial Coliseum, is presented by UK’s Office of Institutional Diversity and is the first of several events that will take place this academic year, the rest of which will be announced later. .

Noah is best known for hosting Comedy Central’s Daily Show, on which he lampoons political figures and offers commentary on the news of the day. He also wrote the book “Born a Crime,” in which he describes his childhood growing up in South Africa under apartheid.

According to a National Public Radio article, Noah said in one of his stand-up sets in 2015 that Lexington is where he discovered “charming racism,” one of several types of racism that he described in a joke. Noah also frequently discusses Kentucky politicos on his show, especially Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The event will also include talks from UK representatives, and Doris Wilkinson, a UK alum, will receive an honorary doctorate. Wilkinson was one of UK’s first three African-American graduates and came back after college to become the university’s first African-American full-time faculty member according to a press release.

The 2019-20 academic year marks 70 years since Lyman T. Johnson became the first black student at UK, when he came to campus as a 43-year old graduate student after winning a court battle to integrate the university. Johnson left UK without earning his degree, but was given an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1979.

Lyman T. Johnson became the first African American to be admitted to UK as a student in 1949. A residence hall was named after him and opened in 2013. This is footage from the sign unveiling ceremony in 2015.

Johnson’s name remains on campus at UK as a part of several fellowships and in the form of Lyman T. Johnson Hall, a dormitory that took his name in 2015. The African-American constituency of the UK alumni association is known as the Lyman T. Johnson African-American Alumni.

Johnson died in 1997 at the age of 91.

Tickets for the event will be free to UK students and employees and will alos be made available to the general public. The tickets will be released next week.

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