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Document Type

Reflection

Abstract

Dr. Stefan Bradley is Associate Professor of History and of African American Studies at Saint Louis University (SLU). As of fall 2017, he will be chair of the Department of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. During the events of Occupy SLU, he was director of SLU’s African American Studies Program. Bradley is an expert in the influence of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, with focus on the role that black college students have played in shaping post-WWII American society. Among his students, he is known for cura personalis. The day after Michael Brown was killed in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, a student called him to report that another student had been injured in a demonstration. Bradley spent the next weeks and months in active solidarity with his students — helping them speak with the media and mentoring those who had taken to the streets to protest. He served in a similar role during the events of Occupy SLU, helping the protestors channel their anger over injustices into actions, and ensuring that SLU’s Black Student Alliance was involved in the agreement between protestors and the administration that ended the week-long occupation of SLU. He also was among the handful of black faculty who advised the SLU president, Dr. Fred Pestello, as he discerned how to respond to the occupation.

Bradley’s perspective calls us to not whitewash the past, to not forget the unofficial history surrounding Occupy SLU, to remember the tension and chaos of the week-long occupation, to keep the community of protestors and their concerns always at the center of the narrative. He also cautions us against complacency as we move into the future. He reminds us that the work of justice is hard and that we must not lose sight of its urgency.

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