Neary to discuss Loyola Chicago’s role in civil rights movement
Dr. Timothy Neary, associate professor and chairman in the Department of History, will discuss “Basketball, Nuns and Civil Rights: Loyola University Chicago Confronts Race in 1963” at 4 p.m. Monday, March 4 in the McKillop Library as part of the library’s faculty lecture series.
Neary will share how the civil rights movement left its mark on Loyola University Chicago as it dramatically changed American society. In March 1963, the school’s basketball team broke racial barriers in college athletics by winning the national championship starting four African Americans, defying college basketball’s unwritten rule of playing no more than two African Americans at home and one on the road.
Later that spring and summer, Loyola students and their allies publicly protested against the Jim Crow policy of a Catholic women’s club located on its campus. When the demonstrations were joined by white nuns who were part of a growing Catholic-sponsored interracial movement, their actions garnered national and international attention.
Loyola University Chicago returned to the spotlight in 2018, when the men’s basketball team made the NCAA Division I Final Four as a Cinderella story. The biggest celebrity of the tournament was the team’s longtime chaplain – a 99-year-old Catholic nun named Sister Jean Schmidt who was active in the civil rights movement.
Neary holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Georgetown University and master’s and doctoral degrees in U.S. history from Loyola University Chicago. His first book, “Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914–1954,” explores the history of Bishop Bernard Sheil’s Catholic Youth Organization, which saw tens of thousands of children from Chicago of all races and religions participate in sports.