Peggy F. Bradford served as the keynote speaker at the NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. In June, Bradford was hired as Shawnee Community College’s eighth president — and its first female and its first African-American president.
Bradford received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from SIU. Read more about her remarkable history here.
On Monday, Bradford urged attendees to remember that the work of Dr. King is not done.
“Amazingly, it has been 50-some years since Dr. King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, and sadly, we in America still face many of the same racially charged issues that Dr. King fought against,” Bradford said.
Bradford, who is Shawnee Community College’s first female president and first African-American president, detailed several racially charged incidents that have occurred recently on college campuses, including one involving a racist note left on a student’s door at SIU Edwardsville.
“This is not racist KKK, this is not skinheads, this is not somebody in the backwoods of Mississippi. This is what is happening on our college campuses, where we are truly supposed to be educating a person completely. I say to you that the journey to the Promised Land is still far off,” Bradford said.
Bradford said racism is thriving at institutions of higher education.
“I’ve spent my career at both universities and community colleges and have found that remaining silent is not the answer, and that if you want to continue that, you rob us as Americans of talented individuals who elect to not enroll or elect to not re-enroll in your institutions of higher learning,” Bradford said.