Noted civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. will be the keynote speaker for Morgan State University's winter commencement on Friday, the college announced.

Morgan will also bestow honors on other figures from the Civil Rights era on the year of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. About 370 undergraduate and graduate students are set to receive degrees.

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Autherine Lucy Foster, who was the first black student at the University of Alabama in 1956, will receive the honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Foster was expelled from the university after threats were made against her and she contested it in court, eventually returning and earning a degree in the 1990s.

The university also plans to award honorary Doctor of Laws degrees to several former students from the 1940s through the 1960s who staged protests in the Civil Rights movements. Officials said the students helped to desegregate theaters and lunch counters in Baltimore, including at the Northwood Shopping Center, near the Morgan campus.

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