The 2013-14 academic school year marks the 50th anniversary of many significant dates in the civil rights movement.  Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech occurred in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. The landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act passed Congress with strong bipartisan leadership and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen from central Illinois played the pivotal legislative part. 

Central Illinois leaders including Senator Dirksen have played a prominent role in promoting civil rights throughout America’s history.  Abraham Lincoln gave his first public speech against the extension of slavery on Peoria’s courthouse steps in 1854.  Peorian Betty Friedan wrote the The Feminine Mystique, which is often credited with sparking the second wave women’s rights in the United States.

With this history as a backdrop, Bradley University has adopted a year-long school theme “Standing Together,” celebrating the 50th  anniversary of these milestones, the history behind them, and what it means for 21st century America.  A campus-wide steering committee has been collaborating with all colleges and departments to come up with a wide variety of meaningful activities throughout the school year.

These exciting learning opportunities include inspiring national speakers, a campus play, watching compelling movies, a poetry contest, re-enactment of famous civil rights trials, and a campus-wide book read.  A detailed calendar is provided on this website of the current events scheduled.  All organizations are also encouraged to come up with their own creative events that focus on this important theme.

The long term goal is to change the culture of Bradley’s campus to one of improved diversity, acceptance and inclusion.