Civil Rights Celebration

By Matt Hawkins
January 28, 2014

An April lecture by civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis will highlight Bradley’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Lewis’ lecture is one of many events scheduled this spring as the university continues its yearlong Standing Together remembrance of the landmark legislation. 

Lewis, the last living member of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders, chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, and served in Congress since 1986.  His lecture will be April 11 at 2:00 p.m.

“We need to remember our history in order to understand where we are today,” said Civil Rights Celebration Committee Co-Chair Dr. Stacey Robertson. “It is critical for us to learn about the extensive and destructive impact of racial inequality on the political, economic and social history of our nation. We also need to learn how individuals and organizations battled racial inequality and exclusion to create a more just society. This history helps us recognize and challenge continuing inequality in all its forms, both subtle and obvious.”

In addition to Lewis’ visit to campus, Dr. Joyce Yen, program and research manager at the University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, will lecture on “Bias, Privilege, and Inclusion: Everyday Examples of Unconscious Discrimination” April 8. She will also lead a workshop April 9.

Bradley’s theater department will participate with performances of “Clybourne Park” February 27-March 2 and March 6-9. “Clybourne Park” tackles racial issues as a follow-up to Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 “A Raisin in the Sun.”

In the fall, Standing Together events featured guests such as Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock 9 and women’s rights activists Lilly Ledbetter and Dr. Bernice Sandler.

“This generation is too young to really appreciate the intense discrimination that many leaders have gone through to move civil rights forward in this country,” committee co-chair Brad McMillan said. “It’s very valuable when we can bring national speakers to campus to share their stories. That experiential learning for students is great. This has had an impact on the way they view the world.”