La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration to Feature Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges Jan. 19 at Viterbo University

Jan. 5, 2015

Contact Keith Knutson at 608-796-3496 or kaknutson@viterbo.edu

LA CROSSE COMMUNITY ANNUAL REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION TO FEATURE CIVIL RIGHTS ICON RUBY BRIDGES JAN. 19 AT VITERBO UNIVERSITY

LA CROSSE, Wis. – American civil rights movement icon Ruby Bridges will give the keynote address at the La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19 in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Bridges was six years old in 1960 when she became the first Black student to desegregate William Frantz Public School in New Orleans. Her experience on the first day of school was immortalized in the Norman Rockwell painting, The Problem We All Live With.

“Though I did not know it then, nor would I come to realize it for many years, what transpired in the fall of 1960 in New Orleans would forever change my life and help shape a nation,” Bridges said. “When I think back on that time and all that has occurred since, I realize a lot has changed. I also know there is much more to be done. That fateful walk to school began a journey, and we all must work together to continue moving forward.”

Bridges has been featured on Oprah, Primetime, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Good Morning America, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She has been the topic of stories in The New York Times, People magazine, Los Angeles Times and many other publications.

The La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is free and open to the public. It will also feature music by the Viterbo music department and the presentation of the MLK Leadership Award. The award honors extraordinary contributions to the La Crosse community that demonstrate Rev. King’s legacy of positive change from generation to generation. Richard Breaux, assistant professor of ethnic and racial studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration is organized by the La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin King Jr. Celebration Committee and is hosted by Viterbo University. Bridges’s appearance is co-sponsored by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. The event is held each year to celebrate the legacy of this American hero and icon.

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