Susquehanna Sophomore Joins Luminaries on Civil Rights Pilgrimage
Published on April 8, 2011
SELINSGROVE—Ebony Bradley, a Susquehanna University sophomore from Reading, joined such notables as Jesse Jackson and the Freedom Riders for the 11th annual Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama March 4–6. Bradley majors in sociology and Spanish at Susquehanna.
Sponsored by the Faith and Politics Institute, which offers experiential pilgrimages, reflection groups, retreats and public forums to Congress members and their staffs, the pilgrimage this year included a select group of young people joining government leaders to immerse themselves in the living history of the civil rights movement. Bradley was selected as a member of Susquehanna’s Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, an organization that helps to transform campus social tensions by offering opportunities to discuss them openly—and confidentially—with others.
“It was an amazing experience, because even though I was in the presence of some of the most amazing revolutionaries of the past and leaders of the present, we were all the same,” said Bradley. “We all were affected by the stories, the videos and photos of the movement, and in those times, we were all so humbled.”
Bradley traveled to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Ala., spending time at Kelly Ingram Park, the staging area for many of the era’s demonstrations, including those led by Martin Luther King Jr.; the 16th Street Baptist Church, where a 1963 bombing killed four African American girls and injured 22 others; the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where King preached for six years and began his quest for civil rights; the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; and the Rosa Parks Museum. The experience culminated in a re-enactment of the 1965 march across Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the Bloody Sunday conflict, when peaceful civil rights demonstrators clashed with armed officers on their way to the state capital.
“I have a renewed sense of wonder and admiration for those individuals who fought so strongly for equal rights and social justice,” said Bradley. “There are so many things that I was unaware of, so many unsung heroes that inspire in the same way that Dr. King and Rosa Parks have done for so many years. Instead of the civil rights movement being one or two chapters in a history book, it deserves an entire book of its own.”
Karen M. Jones