This spring, Bradley University continues its yearlong focus on civil rights with a range of activities.
2013-2014 academic school year marks the 50th anniversary of many significant dates in the civil rights movement—including the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, in which Pekin’s own Senator Everett Dirksen played a pivotal role. Against this historical backdrop, Bradley University has adopted the year-long theme “Civil Rights: Past and Present” with the goal of having this generation of college students begin to appreciate the struggles and intense discrimination many fought to move civil rights forward in America. As we look to the future, we hope to inspire this generation to do its part to make Bradley’s campus—and our country—more truly inclusive, diverse and accepting.
Fall Semester Activities
This fall, a campus-wide steering committee of faculty and students hosted a broad array of activities on campus including:
- A reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speeches by students and faculty Illinois Poet Laureate Dr. Kevin Stein and English Department faculty held a civil rights poetry contest, with four student winners whose poems can be read by visiting bradley.edu/civilrights.
- Students, faculty and community members attended a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird, with opening remarks by President Joanne Glasser sharing how the movie inspired her to become a lawyer and why she has been a strong advocate for diversity in her professional career.
- A packed audience of more than 400 students, faculty and community members heard Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the “Little Rock Nine,” speak of the discrimination he faced on the front lines of desegregation as one of nine African-American students who attended Little Rock High School in 1957.
- Women’s Studies brought Lilly Ledbetter, national crusader for equal pay for women, and Dr. Bernice Sadler, the “Godmother of Title IX” (which helped bring equality to women in athletics), to campus to speak to large crowds of students, faculty and community members.
Spring Semester Activities
This spring, Bradley University will continue with this exciting and informative civil rights theme, with the Theater Department presenting Clybourne Park and vignettes of famous civil rights trials. In addition, a Betty Friedan lecture, a screening of 42, a lecture on human trafficking, and a civil rights music celebration are also being planned. For a full list of events, visit bradley.edu/civilrights.
The culminating event for this year’s civil rights theme will take place on April 11th at the Renaissance Coliseum with Congressman John Lewis as the keynote speaker, paying tribute to the role Senator Everett Dirksen played in passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Congressman Aaron Schock, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and other members of the Illinois congressional delegation will serve as honorary co-hosts, while former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be master of ceremonies. Great leadership lessons can be gleaned from the process and civility used to pass this historic, bipartisan legislation, which need to be followed to address the critical issues facing America today. iBi