Sponsored by the Department of Pan-African Studies and the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs, the five-year Project Progress initiative focuses on the activities and the aftermath of the “heroic period” of the American civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycotts of 1963 through the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Project Progress spring events include:

  •  Jan. 23, 5:30 p.m., Ekstrom Library, Chao Auditorium: “1964: American Progress, Possibilities and Problems,” a Center on Race and Inequality’s Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Lecture by Matthew Whitaker, director of Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.
  •  Jan. 25, 11 a.m., DuValle Education Center, 3610 Bohne Ave.: “Post-Civil Rights, Post-Race, Post-Struggle: American Political Progress and the Black Community.” J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy panel discussion of key trends in black electoral politics and legislation since 1964. Ricky Jones, professor and chair of Pan-African studies at UofL, will be the panel facilitator.
  •  Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m., Chao Auditorium: “The Movement’s Outlaws: When the Civil Rights Movement Stood Up.” Akinyele Umoja, chair of African American studies at Georgia State University, will present research from his book “We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement.”
  •  Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Chao Auditorium: “ACES Kentucky 2014: Black and Latino Sudent Symposium,” focusing on issues facing students of color such as engagement and leadership in universities, equity through curriculum development and the importance of ethnic studies in higher education.
  • March 6-8, Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport, 2735 Crittenden Drive: 41st Dr. Joseph H. McMillan National Conference on the Black Family in America presents “Project Progress: 50 Years of Progress and Struggle: Where Do We Go From Here?” Guest speakers include Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.


John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.